U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Date of this Version



Published in Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part A 138 (2004) 27– 32 doi:10.1016/j.cbpb.2004.02.017


Leptin is an adipose and liver tissue-derived secreted protein in chickens that has been implicated in the regulation of food intake and whole-body energy balance. In this study, the metabolic clearance and tissue uptake of leptin were examined in the chicken (Gallus gallus). Four-week-old broiler males were infused with 125I-labeled mouse leptin. Chromatography of radiolabeled leptin in plasma produced two peaks, one at 16 kDa (free leptin) and a free iodine peak. No leptin binding protein in blood was detected. Leptin was cleared with a half-life estimate of 23 min. In order to investigate the tissue distribution and uptake of radiolabeled leptin, multiple tissues were removed from infused birds at 15 and 240 min post-infusion, and trichloroacetic acid (TCA)-precipitable radioactivity was determined. The amounts of radioactivity at 15 min post-infusion in the tissues in rank order were: kidney, testis, lung, spleen, heart, liver, small and large intestine, gizzard, pancreas, bursa, leg and breast muscle, adrenals, and brain. A slightly different pattern of distribution was observed at 240 min postinfusion. We conclude from these studies that unlike mammals, no circulating leptin binding protein is present in chickens. Leptin is metabolized and cleared very rapidly from blood by the kidney.