Leptin controls adipose tissue lipogenesis via central, STAT3-independent mechanisms

Christoph Buettner, Evan D. Muse, Andrew Cheng, Linghong Chen, Thomas Scherer, Alessandro Pocai, Kai Su, Bob Cheng, Xiasong Li, Judith Harvey-White, Gary J. Schwartz, George Kunos, Luciano Rossetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

277 Scopus citations


Leptin (encoded by Lep) controls body weight by regulating food intake and fuel partitioning. Obesity is characterized by leptin resistance and increased endocannabinoid tone. Here we show that leptin infused into the mediobasal hypothalamus (MBH) of rats inhibits white adipose tissue (WAT) lipogenesis, which occurs independently of signal transducer and activator of transcription-3 (STAT3) signaling. Correspondingly, transgenic inactivation of STAT3 signaling by mutation of the leptin receptor (s/s mice) leads to reduced adipose mass compared to db/db mice (complete abrogation of leptin receptor signaling). Conversely, the ability of hypothalamic leptin to suppress WAT lipogenesis in rats is lost when hypothalamic phosphoinositide 3-kinase signaling is prevented or when sympathetic denervation of adipose tissue is performed. MBH leptin suppresses the endocannabinoid anandamide in WAT, and, when this suppression of endocannabinoid tone is prevented by systemic CB1 receptor activation, MBH leptin fails to suppress WAT lipogenesis. These data suggest that the increased endocannabinoid tone observed in obesity is linked to a failure of central leptin signaling to restrain peripheral endocannabinoids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)667-675
Number of pages9
JournalNature Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2008


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