Microdialysis is a relatively new in vivo sampling technique, which allows repeated collecting of interstitial fluid and infusion of effector molecules into the tissue without influencing whole body function. The possibility of using microdialysis catheter with a large-pore size dialysis membrane (100 kDa) to measure concentrations of the adipocyte-derived peptide hormone leptin in interstitial fluid of adipose tissue was explored. Krebs-Henseleit buffer with 40 g/l dextran-70 was used to prevent perfusion fluid loss across the dialysis membrane. The relative recovery of leptin in vitro was determined using CMA/65 microdialysis catheter (100 kDa cut-off, membrane length 30 mm; CMA, Stockholm, Sweden) and four perfusion rates were tested (0.5, 1.0, 2.0, 5.0 microl/min). Furthermore, the microdialysis catheter CMA/65 was inserted into subcutaneous abdominal adipose tissue of 11 healthy human subjects and leptin concentrations in the interstitial fluid of adipose tissue in vivo were measured. The present findings are the first documentation on the use of microdialysis to study local leptin concentrations in the interstitial fluid of adipose tissue.