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Leptin expression in ruminants : Nutritional and physiological regulations in relation with energy metabolism

Abstract : Leptin, mainly produced in adipose tissue (AT), is a protein involved in the central and/or peripheral regulation of body homeostasis, energy intake, storage and expenditure, fertility and immune functions. Its role is well documented in rodent and human species, but less in ruminants. This review is focused on some intrinsic and extrinsic factors which regulate adipose tissue leptin gene expression and leptinemia in cattle, sheep, goat and camel: age, physiological status (particularly pregnancy and lactation) in interaction with long-term (adiposity) and short-term effects of feeding level, energy intake and balance, diet composition, specific nutrients and hormones (insulin, glucose and fatty acids), and seasonal non-dietary factors such as photoperiod. Body fatness strongly regulates leptin and its responses to other factors. For example, leptinemia is higher after underfeeding or during lactation in fat than in lean animals. Physiological status per se also modulates leptin expression, with lactation down-regulating leptinemia, even when energy balance (EB) is positive. These results suggest that leptin could be a link between nutritional history and physiological regulations, which integrates the animal's requirements (e.g., for a pregnancy-lactation cycle), predictable food availability (e.g., due to seasonal variations) and potential for survival (e.g., body fatness level). Reaching permissive leptin thresholds should be necessary for pubertal or postpartum reproductive activity. In addition to the understanding of leptin yield regulation, these data are helpful to understand the physiological significance of changes in leptin secretion and leptin effects, and how husbandry strategies could integrate the adaptative capacities of ruminant species to their environment.
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Yves Chilliard, Carole Delavaud, Muriel Bonnet. Leptin expression in ruminants : Nutritional and physiological regulations in relation with energy metabolism. Domestic Animal Endocrinology, Elsevier, 2005, 29 (1), pp.3-22. ⟨10.1016/j.domaniend.2005.02.026⟩. ⟨hal-02682669⟩

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