Long-Acting PASylated Leptin Ameliorates Obesity by Promoting Satiety and Preventing Hypometabolism in Leptin-Deficient Lepob/ob Mice
Body weight loss of Lepob/ob mice in response to leptin is larger than expected from the reduction in energy intake alone, suggesting a thermogenic action of unknown magnitude. We exploited the superior pharmacological properties of a novel long-acting leptin prepared via PASylation to study the contribution of its anorexigenic and thermogenic effects. PASylation, the genetic fusion of leptin with a conformationally disordered polypeptide comprising 600 Pro/Ala/Ser (PAS) residues, provides a superior way to increase the hydrodynamic volume of the fusion protein, thus retarding kidney filtration and extending plasma half-life. Here a single PAS(600)-leptin injection (300 pmol/g) resulted in a maximal weight reduction of 21% 6 days after application. The negative energy balance of 300 kJ/(4 d) was driven by a decrease in energy intake, whereas energy expenditure remained stable. Mice that were food restricted to the same extent showed an energy deficit of only 220 kJ/(4 d) owing to recurring torpor bouts. Therefore, the anorexigenic effect of PAS(600)-leptin contributes 75% to weight loss, whereas the thermogenic action accounts for 25% by preventing hypometabolism. In a second experiment, just four injections of PAS(600)-leptin (100 pmol/g) administered in 5- to 6-day intervals rectified the Lepob/ob phenotype. In total, 16 nmol of PAS(600)-leptin per mouse triggered a weight loss of 43% within 20 days and normalized hypothermia and glucose homeostasis as well as hepatic steatosis. The beneficial properties of PAS(600)-leptin are substantiated by a comparison with previous studies in which approximately 400 nmol (∼25-fold) unmodified leptin was mandatory to achieve similar improvements.