Objectives: Subnormal leptin levels in low birth weight infants may allow for catch-up growth during infancy. Scant data are available that relate growth with circulating leptin during normal infancy in primates. The current study objective was to examine the association between serum leptin, its soluble receptor (sOB-R), testosterone and IGF-I concentrations, and body weight during infancy in male rhesus monkeys.
Design: Hormone levels were assessed longitudinally in animals (n = 7) from birth until 1 year of age.
Results: Body weight increased during the first 6 months of life and was strongly correlated with rising IGF-I levels and, as IGF-I plateaued and then declined during the second half of the year, body weight gain decelerated. In contrast, leptin levels declined gradually with age during the first year of life in conjunction with increasing body weight. There was no association between body weight gain and serum leptin levels or between serum testosterone and leptin values. Since sOB-R levels also declined with leptin values, it does not appear that levels of bioavailable leptin changed during infancy.
Conclusions: The data do not support the contention that leptin regulates growth during infancy, but the close association between IGF-I levels and body weight suggested that this hormone may regulate growth in infant male monkeys. The failure to observe an association between serum testosterone and leptin concentrations suggested that leptin is not involved in the activation of the hypothalamic–pituitary –testicular axis during this developmental period.