TitleCentral leptin gene therapy corrects skeletal abnormalities in leptin-deficient ob/ob mice.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsIwaniec, UT, Boghossian, S, Lapke, PD, Turner, RT, Kalra, SP
Date Published2007 May
KeywordsTreatment Outcome

Skeletal growth is tightly coupled to energy balance via complex and incompletely understood mechanisms. Leptin-deficient ob/ob mice are obese and develop multiple pathologies associated with the metabolic syndrome. Additionally, ob/ob mice have skeletal abnormalities. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of leptin deficiency and long duration selective central leptin repletion via recombinant adeno-associated virus-leptin (rAAV-lep) gene therapy on bone in growing ob/ob mice. The ob/ob mice were injected in the hypothalamus with either rAAV-lep or rAAV-GFP (control vector). Treated ob/ob and untreated wild-type (WT) mice were then maintained on a normal diet for 15 weeks. In a second experiment, similarly treated mice along with a group of pair-fed mice were maintained for 30 weeks. Leptin was not detected in blood of either rAAV-lep- or rAAV-GFP-treated mice although rAAV-lep-treated mice displayed leptin transgene expression in the hypothalamus. As expected, rAAV-lep normalized body weight and food intake. Compared to WT mice, rAAV-GFP-treated ob/ob mice had decreased femoral length (by 1.6 mm or 10%, P<0.001), decreased total femur bone volume (by 3.3 mm(3) or 19%, P<0.001), but increased cancellous bone volume in the distal femur (by 0.04 mm(3) or 60%, P<0.09) and lumbar vertebrae (by 0.26 mm(3) or 118%, P<0.001). Treatment with rAAV-lep rescued the ob/ob skeletal phenotype by increasing femoral length and total bone volume, and decreasing femoral and vertebral cancellous bone volume, so that at 15 weeks post-rAAV-lep injection the ob/ob mice no longer differed from WT mice. No further skeletal changes in either the femur or lumbar vertebra were observed at 30 weeks post-rAAV-lep administration. The results suggest that hypothalamic leptin functions as an essential permissive factor for normal bone growth.