Serum leptin in nonpregnant and pregnant women and in old and new world nonhuman primates

V. Daniel Castracane, Andrew G Hendrickx, Michael C. Henson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Leptin is a hormone that is produced during mammalian pregnancy in the placental trophoblast and other tissues, including! fetal and maternal adipocytes. Synthesis of the polypeptide and the presence of its specific receptors throughout the human maternal fetoplacental unit suggest direct effects on conceptus growth and development. However, both the physiologic roles of leptin and the mechanisms regulating leptin synthesis in human pregnancy differ from those in laboratory and domestic species, necessitating the development of non-human primate research models. Therefore, we compared serum leptin concentrations in nonpregnant and pregnant women with those in both old world nonhuman primates (i.e., baboon, rhesus monkey, cynomolgus monkey) and new world nonhuman primates (i.e., squirrel monkey, titi monkey). As expected, maternal leptin levels were elevated in human and baboon pregnancies (P < 0.05 and P < 0.001, respectively). Levels in both species of old world monkeys were also greatly enhanced (P < 0.001). Although maternal serum concentrations were slightly elevated compared to nonpregnant levels in both species of new world monkeys, overall concentrations were dramatically lower than for either old world primates or humans. Results provide comparisons of serum leptin concentrations in pregnant and nonpregnant humans and baboons with those in both old and new world monkeys and further characterize these nonhuman primates as models for the investigation of leptin dynamics in pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-254
Number of pages4
JournalExperimental Biology and Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2005


  • Leptin
  • New world primates
  • Old world primates
  • Pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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