Sex Differences in Somatotrope Dependency on Leptin Receptors in Young Mice: Ablation of LEPR Causes Severe Growth Hormone Deficiency and Abdominal Obesity in Males.

PMID 26168341


Leptin receptor (LEPR) signaling controls appetite and energy expenditure. Somatotrope-specific deletion of the LEPRb signaling isoform causes GH deficiency and obesity. The present study selectively ablated Lepr exon 1 in somatotropes, which removes the signal peptide, causing the loss of all isoforms of LEPR. Excision of Lepr exon 1 was restricted to the pituitary, and mutant somatotropes failed to respond to leptin. Young (2-3 mo) males showed a severe 84% reduction in serum GH levels and more than 60% reduction in immunolabeled GH cells compared with 41%-42% reductions in GH and GH cells in mutant females. Mutant males (35 d) and females (45 d) weighed less than controls and males had lower lean body mass. Image analysis of adipose tissue by magnetic resonance imaging showed that young males had a 2-fold increase in abdominal fat mass and increased adipose tissue density. Young females had only an overall increase in adipose tissue. Both males and females showed lower energy expenditure and higher respiratory quotient, indicating preferential carbohydrate burning. Young mutant males slept less and were more restless during the dark phase, whereas the opposite was true of females. The effects of a Cre-bearing sire on his non-Cre-recombinase bearing progeny are seen by increased respiratory quotient and reduced litter sizes. These studies elucidate clear sex differences in the extent to which somatotropes are dependent on all isoforms of LEPR. These results, which were not seen with the ablation of Lepr exon 17, highlight the severe consequences of ablation of LEPR in male somatotropes.