Leptin increases T-cell immune response in birds

M. Lõhmus, M. Olin, L. F. Sundström, M. H.T. Troedsson, T. W. Molitor, M. El Halawani

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32 Scopus citations


Leptin is a 16 kDa protein hormone that besides being a satiety factor also functions as a pleiotropic molecule regulating endocrine and immune functions. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of leptin on mitogen stimulated T-lymphocyte proliferation in birds. In the first experiment (in vitro), peripheral blood was collected from turkeys and lymphocytes were isolated from samples. Recombinant chicken leptin was added at concentrations of 0, 10-9, 10-8, 10-7, and 10-6 M prior to mitogen stimulation with Concavalin A. BrdU incorporation allowed us to detect T-cell proliferation using intracellular labeling of nucleic acids. Mitogen activation induced with Concavalin A caused a proliferation of T-cells that was positively correlated with the concentration of leptin. In the second experiment (in vivo), asian blue quail were fitted with osmotic pumps releasing leptin and injected with phytohemagglutinin (PHA) in their wing-webs before, during, and after leptin administration. The response to mitogen was greater in leptin treated birds during the leptin administration, but not before or after. These findings demonstrate that leptin enhances mitogen stimulated T-cell proliferation in birds. The results correspond with previous reports on mammals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-250
Number of pages6
JournalGeneral and Comparative Endocrinology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2004

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Many thanks to Michael Anderson, Roche, Inc for generously donating the BrdU kit for our studies, and Shelia R. Alexander for the help and use of the flow cytometry. We are very grateful to Dr. A.F. Parlow from the National Hormone and Peptide Program for supplying leptin. We also thank Stephen Whiting and Parag Chary for their help. Thanks to Bengt Silverin, Bengt I Källaren & Co., Anna Forsell and Reneé Edström for all the help during this experiment. This experiment was supported by research grants from Crafoordska Stiftelsen in Lund.


  • Asian blue quail
  • Galliformes
  • Immuno defence
  • Phasainidae
  • T-cell proliferation
  • Turkey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Endocrinology


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