The obese (ob) gene has been cloned recently and its protein product is called 'leptin'. Leptin is an adipocyte-derived satiety factor that regulates body weight homeostasis. Several hormonal factors have been reported to regulate ob mRNA expression. To determine which factors are most important for regulation of ob mRNA expression, we examined the effects of insulin, dexamethasone, a β3- adrenergic agonist (CGP12177A), 8-bromo-cAMP, 8-bromo-cGMP and 1-methyl-3-isobutylxanthine (MM) on primary cultured adipocytes. Rat adipocytes obtained from epididymal fat were cultured using the ceiling method. Total RNA was extracted and the expression of ob mRNA was measured by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. After 24h of incubation, 100 nmol/l insulin significantly increased the expression of ob mRNA (21.4-fold compared to control). Moreover, insulin increased ob mRNA expression in a dose-dependent manner over a range of 1-100 nmol/l. The effect of 100 nmol/l insulin was similar to that seen with 20% newborn calf serum. Dexamethasone (25-1000 nmol/l) also increased ob mRNA expression (2.5-2.9-fold). The effect of dexamethasone occurred more rapidly than insulin. CGP12177A (1-10 μmol/l) and 0.5 mmol/l 8-bromo-cAMP had no effects, whereas 0.5 mmol/l 8-bromo-cGMP and 0.5 mmol/l MIX had stimulatory effects (2.8- and 2.4-fold increase in ob mRNA, respectively). The combination of 250 nmol/l dexamethasone and 0.5 mmol/l MM did not have an additive effect on ob mRNA levels. Our present data suggest that, of these agents, insulin is the most important factor regulating ob mRNA expression.
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