, Volume 55, Issue 3, pp 752-762
Date: 28 Dec 2011

Hepatic leptin signalling and subdiaphragmatic vagal efferents are not required for leptin-induced increases of plasma IGF binding protein-2 (IGFBP-2) in ob/ob mice



The fat-derived hormone leptin plays a crucial role in the maintenance of normal body weight and energy expenditure as well as in glucose homeostasis. Recently, it was reported that the liver-derived protein, insulin-like growth factor binding protein-2 (IGFBP-2), is responsible for at least some of the glucose-normalising effects of leptin. However, the exact mechanism by which leptin upregulates IGFBP-2 production is unknown. Since it is believed that circulating IGFBP-2 is predominantly derived from the liver and leptin has been shown to have both direct and indirect actions on the liver, we hypothesised that leptin signalling in hepatocytes or via brain–liver vagal efferents may mediate leptin control of IGFBP-2 production.


To address our hypothesis, we assessed leptin action on glucose homeostasis and plasma IGFBP-2 levels in both leptin-deficient ob/ob mice with a liver-specific loss of leptin signalling and ob/ob mice with a subdiaphragmatic vagotomy. We also examined whether restoring hepatic leptin signalling in leptin receptor-deficient db/db mice could increase plasma IGFBP-2 levels.


Continuous leptin administration increased plasma IGFBP-2 levels in a dose-dependent manner, in association with reduced plasma glucose and insulin levels. Interestingly, leptin was still able to increase plasma IGFBP-2 levels and improve glucose homeostasis in both ob/ob mouse models to the same extent as their littermate controls. Further, restoration of hepatic leptin signalling in db/db mice did not increase either hepatic or plasma IGFBP-2 levels.


Taken together, these data indicate that hepatic leptin signalling and subdiaphragmatic vagal inputs are not required for leptin upregulation of plasma IGFBP-2 nor blood glucose lowering in ob/ob mice.

J. Levi and F.K. Huynh contributed equally to this study.