Leptin-based glycopeptide induces weight loss and simultaneously restores fertility in animal models

I. Kovalszky, E. Surmacz, L. Scolaro, M. Cassone, R. Ferla, A. Sztodola, J. Olah, M. P.D. Hatfield, S. Lovas, L. Otvos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Aim: To design, manufacture and test a second generation leptin receptor (ObR) agonist glycopeptide derivative. The major drawback to current experimental therapies involving leptin protein is the appearance of treatment resistance. Our novel peptidomimetic was tested for efficacy and lack of resistance induction in rodent models of obesity and appetite reduction.Methods: The glycopeptide containing two additional non-proteinogenic amino acids was synthesized by standard solid-phase methods. Normal mice were fed with peanuts until their blood laboratory data and liver histology showed typical signs of obesity but not diabetes. The mice were treated with the peptidomimetic at 0.02, 0.1 or 0.5 mg/kg/day intraperitoneally side-by-side with 0.1 mg/kg/day leptin for 11 days. After termination of the assay, the blood cholesterol and glucose amounts were measured, the liver fat content was visualized and quantified and the remaining mice returned to normal diet and were allowed to mate. In parallel experiments normal rats were treated intranasally with the glycopeptide at 0.1 mg/kg/day for 10 days.Results: The 12-residue glycosylated leptin-based peptidomimetic E1/6-amino-hexanoic acid (Aca) was designed to target a principal leptin/ObR-binding interface. E1/Aca induced leptin effects in ObR-positive cell lines at picomolar concentrations and readily crossed the blood-brain barrier (BBB) following intraperitoneal administration. The peptide initiated typical leptin-dependent signal transduction pathways both in the presence and absence of leptin protein. The peptide also reduced weight gain in mice fed with high-fat peanut diet in a dose-dependent manner. Obese mice receiving peptide E1/Aca at a 0.5 mg/kg/day dose lost weight, corresponding to a net 6.5% total body weight loss, while similar mice treated with leptin protein did not. Upon cessation of the weight loss treatment, several obesity-related pathologies (i.e. abnormal metabolic profile and liver histology as well as infertility) normalized in peptide-, but not leptin-treated, mice. Peptide E1/Aca added intranasally to growing normal rats decelerated normal weight gain corresponding to a net 6.8% net total body weight loss with statistical significance.Conclusions: No resistance induction to peptide E1/Aca or toxicity in either obese or healthy rodents was observed, indicating the potential for widespread utility of the peptidomimetic in the treatment of leptin-deficiency disorders. We provide additional proof for the hypothesis that difficulties in current leptin therapies reside at the BBB penetration stage, and we document that by either glycosylation or intranasal peptide administration we can overcome this limitation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)393-402
Number of pages10
JournalDiabetes, Obesity and Metabolism
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


Dive into the research topics of 'Leptin-based glycopeptide induces weight loss and simultaneously restores fertility in animal models'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this