Leptin is a key factor in the regulation of food intake and is an important factor in the pathophysiology of obesity. However, more than a decade after the discovery of leptin in mouse, information regarding leptin in any nonmammalian species is still scant. We report the identification of duplicate leptin genes in common carp (Cyprinus carpio). The unique gene structure, the conservation of both cysteines that form leptin's single disulfide bridge, and stable clustering in phylogenetic analyses substantiate the unambiguous orthology of mammalian and carp leptins, despite low amino acid identity. The liver is a major yet not the only site of leptin expression. However, neither 6 d nor 6 wk of fasting nor subsequent refeeding affected hepatic leptin expression, although the carp predictably shifted from carbohydrate to lipid metabolism. Animals that were fed to satiation grew twice as fast as controls; however, they did not show increased leptin expression at the termination of the study. Hepatic leptin expression did, however, display an acute and transient postprandial increase that follows the postprandial plasma glucose peak. In summary, leptin mRNA expression in carp changes acutely after food intake, but involvement of leptin in the long-term regulation of food intake and energy metabolism was not evident from fasting for days or weeks or long-term feeding to satiation. These are the first data on the regulation of leptin expression in any nonmammalian species.
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