Different levels of leptin regulate different target enzymes involved in progesterone synthesis

Leptin is able to regulate the expression of different target enzymes throughout the P synthesis, such as P450scc and 3bHSD, in a dose-dependent manner.


María Guillermina Bilbao, Ph.D., María Paula Di Yorio, Ph.D., Alicia Graciela Faletti, Ph.D.

Volume 99, Issue 5, Pages 1460-1466, April 2013



To study the effects of different doses of leptin on the expression of proteins involved in progesterone synthesis, such as steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR), cytochrome P450 side chain cleavage (P450scc) and 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3βHSD).


Experimental studies.


Research Laboratory.


Immature rats primed with gonadotropins to induce ovulation.


In vivo studies: rats received either an acute or daily treatment with leptin. In vitro studies: ovarian explants were cultured in the absence or presence of leptin (0.3-500 ng/ml).

Main Outcome Measure(s):

The expression of both mRNA and protein of StAR, P450scc and 3βHSD were measured by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and western blot, respectively.


The acute treatment with leptin, which inhibits the ovulatory process, caused a significant reduction in the ovarian expression of P450scc without changes in StAR or 3βHSD. In contrast, the daily treatment, which induces the ovulatory process, showed an increased expression of the ovarian 3HSD protein, without differences in the other proteins measured. We also found that leptin increased the protein of both P450scc and 3βHSD at physiological levels and inhibited both mRNA and protein of 3βHSD at higher concentrations.


The results indicate that i) leptin is able to regulate the expression of the 3βHSD protein in a dose-dependent manner; and ii) leptin seems to exert its dual effects on progesterone synthesis on different targets in a dose-dependent manner.

Read the full text at: http://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(12)02523-X/fulltext