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Leptin inhibits directly glucocorticoid secretion by normal human and rat adrenal gland.
Different interactions have been described between glucocorticoids and the product of the ob gene leptin. Leptin can inhibit the activation of the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis by stressful stimuli, whereas adrenal glucocorticoids stimulate leptin production by the adipocyte. The present study was designed to investigate the potential direct effects of leptin to modulate glucocorticoid production by the adrenal. Human adrenal glands from kidney transplant donors were dissociated, and isolated primary cells were studied in vitro. These cells were preincubated with recombinant leptin (10(-10)-10(-7) M) for 6 or 24 h, and basal or ACTH-stimulated cortisol secretion was subsequently measured. Basal cortisol secretion was unaffected by leptin, but a significant and dose-dependent inhibition of ACTH-stimulated cortisol secretion was observed [down by 29 +/- 0.1% of controls with the highest leptin dose, P < 0.01 vs. CT (unrelated positive control)]. This effect of leptin was also observed in rat primary adrenocortical cells, where leptin inhibited stimulated corticosterone secretion in a dose-dependent manner (down by 46 +/- 0.1% of controls with the highest leptin dose, P < 0.001 vs. CT). These effects of leptin in adrenal cells are likely mediated by the long isoform of the leptin receptor (OB-R), because its transcript was found to be expressed in the adrenal tissue and leptin had no inhibitory effect in adrenal glands obtained from db/db mice. Therefore, leptin inhibits directly stimulated cortisol secretion from human and rat adrenal glands, and this may represent an important mechanism to modulate glucocorticoid levels in various metabolic states.
Adrenal Glands, Adrenocorticotropic Hormone, Animals, Corticosterone, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Female, Humans, Hydrocortisone, Leptin, Proteins, Rats, Rats, Wistar
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