Morbid obesity attenuates the skeletal abnormalities associated with leptin deficiency in mice

    1. Urszula T Iwaniec1,2
    1. 1Skeletal Biology Laboratory, School of Biological and Population Health Sciences
      2Center for Healthy Aging Research
      3Biostatistics, School of Biological and Population Health Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331, USA
    1. Correspondence should be addressed to U T Iwaniec; Email: urszula.iwaniec{at}


    Leptin-deficient ob/ob mice are morbidly obese and exhibit low total bone mass and mild osteopetrosis. In order to disassociate the skeletal effects of leptin deficiency from those associated with morbid obesity, we evaluated bone mass, architecture, gene expression, and indices of bone turnover in WT mice, ob/ob mice allowed to feed ad libitum (ob/ob), and ob/ob mice pair-fed equivalent to WT mice (pair-fed ob/ob). Mice were maintained at 32 °C (thermoneutral) from 6 to 18 weeks of age to minimize differences in resting energy expenditure. ob/ob mice were heavier, had more abdominal white adipose tissue (WAT), and were hyperglycemic compared with WT mice. Femur length, bone mineral content (BMC) and bone mineral density, and midshaft femur cortical thickness were lower in ob/ob mice than in WT mice. Cancellous bone volume (BV) fraction was higher but indices of bone formation and resorption were lower in ob/ob mice compared with WT mice; reduced bone resorption in ob/ob mice resulted in pathological retention of calcified cartilage. Pair-fed ob/ob mice were lighter and had lower WAT, uterine weight, and serum glucose than ob/ob mice. Similarly, femoral length, BMC, and cortical thickness were lower in pair-fed ob/ob mice compared with ob/ob mice, as were indices of cancellous bone formation and resorption. In contrast, bone marrow adiposity, calcified cartilage, and cancellous BV fraction were higher at one or more cancellous sites in pair-fed ob/ob mice compared with ob/ob mice. These findings indicate that the skeletal abnormalities caused by leptin deficiency are markedly attenuated in morbidly obese ob/ob mice.

    • Received in final form 19 June 2014
    • Accepted 1 July 2014
    • Made available online as an Accepted Preprint 2 July 2014
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