2002 Volume 64 Issue 4 Pages 349-353
Leptin is a protein synthesized and secreted primarily by adipocytes, and the circulating leptin concentration is elevated in obese humans and rodents. Recently, we have established a sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for canine leptin. In the present study, plasma leptin concentrations were measured in experimentally developed obese beagles and in clinically obese dogs. When 5 male beagles were given a high-energy diet for 3 months, all of them became obese and the plasma leptin concentration significantly increased from 2.4 ± 1.2 to 4.9 ± 0.9 ng/ml, positively correlating with body fat content estimated by the deuterium oxide dilution method (r=0.87). The leptin concentrations of plasma samples collected from 59 dogs in veterinary practices were compared with their body condition scores (BCS). The plasma leptin concentrations of obese dogs were 9.7 ± 0.7 and 12.3 ± 1.5 ng/ml at BCS=4 and BCS=5, respectively, which were significantly higher than those of optimal (BCS=3) dogs (2.7 ± 0.3 ng/m l). There was no significant effect of sex and breed. A weak positive correlation (r=0.37) was found between the plasma leptin concentration and age, probably due to the lesser content of visceral fat in puppies younger than 1 year old. These results indicate that plasma leptin is a good index of adiposity in dogs regardless of breed, age and sex, and may be useful for quantitative assessment of obesity in small animal practice.