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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2004

High leptin in pregnant mink (Mustela vison) may exert anorexigenic effects: a permissive factor for rapid increase in food intake during lactation

Tauson AH, Forsberg M, Chwalibog A


The role for leptin in food intake regulation in the mink, a polytocous seasonal breeder with altricial young, was investigated in pregnant and lactating dams and data were related to quantitative energy metabolism measurements and plasma concentrations of other important metabolic hormones. A total of nine mink dams were measured in consecutive 1-week balance periods, each including a 22 h measurement of heat production by means of indirect calorimetry, and blood was sampled at weekly intervals throughout gestation and during lactation weeks 1-4. Intake of metabolisable energy (ME) was high and energy balance was positive until the first third of true gestation. During mid- and late gestation ME intake decreased (P<0.001) while heat production remained almost constant, resulting in negative energy balance and the loss of body weight. From late gestation until lactation week 4, ME intake increased by 3,5 times, but weight loss continued. Plasma concentrations of leptin were approximately doubled during the last two-thirds of true gestation (P< 0.01), demonstrating a clear gestational hyperleptinaemia. Concentrations declined rapidly after parturition and then remained stable. Insulin was independent of leptin, with low concentrations coincident with hyperleptinaemia. Also, concentrations of thyroid hormones declined during gestation, probably reflecting the low food intake. Hyperleptinaemia concomitant with low ME intake, negative energy balance and mobilisation of body reserves suggested an anorexigenic effect of leptin in pregnant mink. This suppression of food intake in late gestation might be permissive for the rapid increase in food intake occurring after parturition

Published in

British Journal of Nutrition
2004, Volume: 91, number: 3, pages: 411-421