Central leptin stimulates ingestive behavior and urine flow in the near term ovine fetus

T. J. Roberts, M. J. Nijland, A. Caston-Balderrama, M. G. Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Leptin inhibits ingestive behavior and induces diuresis and natriuresis. To examine whether leptin influences fetal physiologic functions, we investigated the effect of central leptin on ovine fetal swallowing activity and urine flow. Six pregnant ewes with singleton fetuses (130 ± 2 d gestation) were prepared with maternal and fetal arterial and venous catheters, fetal lateral intra-ventricle cannula, fetal bladder and amniotic fluid catheters. Electromyogram wires were placed in the fetal thyrohyoid muscle and upper and lower nuchal esophagus and electrodes were implanted on the parietal dura. Five days after surgery, recombinant human leptin was infused into the lateral ventricle and the fetus monitored for 8 h. Central leptin increased fetal swallowing activity during low-voltage electrocortical activity from basal values (0.96 ± 0.08 swallows/min) at 2 h (1.41 ± 0.24 swallows/min), 4 h (2.81 ± 0.57 swallows/min), 6 h (2.53 ± 0.59 swallows/min) and 8 h (2.08 ± 0.39 swallows/min, p < 0.05). In comparison to basal values, low voltage electrocortical activity decreased (57 ± 5% to 42 ± 4%) and high voltage electrocortical increased (43 ± 5% to 61 ± 4%). In response to leptin, fetal urine flow initially decreased from basal values at 2 h (0.12 ± 0.03 to 0.08 ± 0.02 ml/kg/min, p < 0.05) then subsequently increased at 4 h and 6 h (0.20 ± 0.04; 0.21 ± 0.04 ml/kg/ min, respectively, p < 0.05). Central leptin significantly increases near term ovine fetal swallowing activity and urine output, suggesting that leptin contributes to in utero development of ingestive behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)144-150
Number of pages7
JournalHormone and Metabolic Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Behavioral State
  • Fetal Sheep
  • OB Protein
  • Renal
  • Swallowing
  • Thirst

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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