Research Article

Leptin mRNA expression in the rat mammary gland at different activation stages

Abstract

Leptin is expressed in various tissues, suggesting that this protein is effective not only at the central nervous system level, but also peripherically. Recent studies have shown leptin production by other tissues, including the placenta, stomach, and mammary tissues, but there is no information available concerning expression levels of leptin in the rat mammary gland at different activation stages. We used semi-quantitative RT-PCR to investigate leptin mRNA expression levels in the rat mammary gland at different activity stages. Rat mammary gland samples were collected from virgin females and on days 6, 12, 18 of pregnancy and of lactation (six rats per group). The expression levels of leptin mRNA were measured by semi-quantitative RT-PCR, with β-actin as an internal control. Leptin mRNA was highly expressed in virgin rat mammary glands (leptinIOD/β-actinIOD = 1.60). It decreased gradually during pregnancy, being lowest at 18 days of pregnancy, when the levels were significantly lower than in virgin mammary tissue. Leptin mRNA increased slightly during lactation, but the difference was not significant. By day 18 of lactation, expression levels of leptin mRNA reached the same values as in virgin mammary tissue (leptinIOD/β-actinIOD = 1.65). Based on these results, we suggest that leptin has an important regulation role in rat mammary gland activation.

Leptin is expressed in various tissues, suggesting that this protein is effective not only at the central nervous system level, but also peripherically. Recent studies have shown leptin production by other tissues, including the placenta, stomach, and mammary tissues, but there is no information available concerning expression levels of leptin in the rat mammary gland at different activation stages. We used semi-quantitative RT-PCR to investigate leptin mRNA expression levels in the rat mammary gland at different activity stages. Rat mammary gland samples were collected from virgin females and on days 6, 12, 18 of pregnancy and of lactation (six rats per group). The expression levels of leptin mRNA were measured by semi-quantitative RT-PCR, with β-actin as an internal control. Leptin mRNA was highly expressed in virgin rat mammary glands (leptinIOD/β-actinIOD = 1.60). It decreased gradually during pregnancy, being lowest at 18 days of pregnancy, when the levels were significantly lower than in virgin mammary tissue. Leptin mRNA increased slightly during lactation, but the difference was not significant. By day 18 of lactation, expression levels of leptin mRNA reached the same values as in virgin mammary tissue (leptinIOD/β-actinIOD = 1.65). Based on these results, we suggest that leptin has an important regulation role in rat mammary gland activation.