Removing melatonin receptor type 1 signaling leads to selective leptin resistance in the arcuate nucleus

Daniella Buonfiglio, Cynthia Tchio, Isadora Furigo, José Donato, Kenkichi Baba, José Cipolla-Neto, Gianluca Tosini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Recent studies have highlighted the involvement of melatonin in the regulation of energy homeostasis. In this study, we report that mice lacking melatonin receptor 1 (MT1 KO) gained more weight, had a higher cumulative food intake, and were more hyperphagic after fasting compared to controls (WT). In response to a leptin injection, MT1 KO mice showed a diminished reduction in body weight and food intake. To evaluate hypothalamic leptin signaling, we tested leptin-induced phosphorylation of the signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3). Leptin failed to induce STAT3 phosphorylation in MT1 KO mice beyond levels observed in mice injected with phosphate-buffered saline (PBS). Furthermore, STAT3 phosphorylation within the arcuate nucleus (ARH) was decreased in MT1 KO mice. Leptin receptor mRNA levels in the hypothalamus of MT1 KO were significantly reduced (about 50%) compared to WT. This study shows that: (a) MT1 deficiency causes weight gain and increased food intake; (b) a lack of MT1 signaling induces leptin resistance; (c) leptin resistance is ARH region-specific; and (d) leptin resistance is likely due to down-regulation of the leptin receptor. Our data demonstrate that MT1 signaling is an important modulator of leptin signaling.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12580
JournalJournal of Pineal Research
Issue number2
Early online date29 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

© 2019 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • leptin receptor
  • leptin resistance
  • melatonin
  • melatonin receptor 1
  • metabolism
  • obesity


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