Journal of Comparative Physiology B

, Volume 178, Issue 2, pp 217–223 | Cite as

Changes in body mass, serum leptin, and mRNA levels of leptin receptor isoforms during the premigratory period in Myotis lucifugus

  • Kristy L. Townsend
  • Thomas H. Kunz
  • Eric P. Widmaier
Original Paper


Migration and hibernation in mammals may be preceded by a period of leptin resistance, which may in part account for the increasing adiposity and body mass that occurs during these periods. We hypothesized that hypothalamic expression of leptin receptor mRNA would decrease during the premigration (PM) period in the little brown myotis, Myotis lucifugus. Body mass of M. lucifugus increased during the PM period, but serum leptin levels did not change during that time. Hypothalamic mRNA levels for both the short (ObRa) and fully active long (ObRb) forms of the leptin receptor increased during PM, but the relative increase in ObRa was larger and occurred sooner than ObRb. mRNA levels of an inhibitor of leptin signaling (protein inhibitor of activated STAT3: PIAS3) increased in hypothalami during the PM period in bats. Adiponectin is an adipokine that has been linked to obesity in rodents; normally, serum levels of adiponectin decrease in obesity. In M. lucifugus, adiponectin mRNA levels decreased in adipose tissue during the period of mass gain, but circulating adiponectin levels did not change. We conclude that the relative changes in leptin receptor isoform expression during the PM fattening period may favor binding of leptin to the less active short isoform. Coupled with increased expression of PIAS3 and the dissociation of serum leptin levels from body mass and adiposity, these changes could account in part for the adaptive fattening during the PM period. In addition, the adipokine profiles of M. lucifugus during the PM period and that of obesity in non-hibernating mammals are strikingly dissimilar.


Little brown myotis Hypothalamus Adiponectin ObRa ObRb 



This work was supported in part by NSF grant IBN (IOS)0446057 to EPW and THK, NSF DDIG grant IOB 0507914 to KLT, and American Association of University Women Doctoral Dissertation grant to KLT.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristy L. Townsend
    • 1
  • Thomas H. Kunz
    • 1
  • Eric P. Widmaier
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyBoston UniversityBostonUSA

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