Sergio Vaira, Chang Yang, Aaron McCoy, Kelly Keys, Shurong Xue, Edward J. Weinstein, Deborah V. Novack and Xiaoxia Cui
Leptin, a cytokine-like hormone secreted mainly by adipocytes, regulates various pathways centered on food intake and energy expenditure, including insulin sensitivity, fertility, immune system, and bone metabolism. Here, using zinc finger nuclease technology, we created the first leptin knockout rat. Homozygous leptin null rats are obese with significantly higher serum cholesterol, triglyceride, and insulin levels than wild-type controls. Neither gender produced offspring despite of repeated attempts. The leptin knockout rats also have depressed immune system. In addition, examination by microcomputed tomography of the femurs of the leptin null rats shows a significant increase in both trabecular bone mineral density and bone volume of the femur compared with wild-type littermates. Our model should be useful for many different fields of studies, such as obesity, diabetes, and bone metabolism-related illnesses.