We examined the effects of leptin treatment on the expression of key genes in adipocyte metabolism in Psammomys obesus (P. obesus), a polygenic rodent model of obesity. Lean and obese P. obesus were given three daily intraperitoneal injections of either saline or leptin (total of 45 mg/kg per day) for 7 days. In lean animals, leptin treatment led to reductions in food intake, body weight and fat mass. Pair-fed animals matched for the reduction in food intake of the lean leptin-treated animals demonstrated similar reductions in body weight and fat mass. In obese P. obesus, leptin treatment failed to have any effect on body weight or body fat mass, indicating leptin resistance. Lipoprotein lipase, hormone-sensitive lipase and peroxisome proliferator activated receptor gamma 2 mRNA levels were significantly reduced in lean leptin-treated animals, whereas pair-fed animals were similar to lean controls. Uncoupling protein 2 and glycerol phosphate acyltransferase were also reduced in the lean leptin-treated animals, but not significantly so. Obese animals did not show any gene expression changes after leptin treatment. In conclusion, high circulating concentrations of leptin in lean P. obesus resulted in decreased gene expression of a number of key lipid enzymes, independent of changes in food intake, body weight and fat mass. These effects of leptin were not found in obese P. obesus.