Leptin receptor (OB-R) splice variants either encode proteins with different 3' cytoplasmic domains or have different 5' untranslated regions (UTR), indicative of dual promoters. The B219/OB-R promoter transcribes only OB-R transcripts, whereas the OB-R/GRP promoter initiates transcription of both OB-R and another protein of unknown function, called the leptin receptor gene-related protein (OB-RGRP). We compared expression of B219/OB-R 5'-UTR and OB-RGRP mRNAs by in situ hybridization. We thus assessed, by inference, the contributions of the two promoters to the leptin receptor transcript pool, in murine brain or in placenta, a tissue with abundant leptin receptor mRNA. Expression of B219/OB-R 5'-UTR mRNA (and thus by inference B219/OB-R promoter activity) in brain was similar in both distribution and relative intensity to OB-R mRNA. OB-RGRP mRNA (and thus by inference OB-R/GRP promoter activity) was widely distributed in murine brain, with elevated expression in the hypothalamic regions that express the leptin receptor mRNA, including the paraventricular nucleus. B219/OB-R 5'-UTR mRNA, but not OB-RGRP mRNA, was upregulated in hypothalamus of obese ob/ob mice. In placenta, B219/OB-R 5'-UTR mRNA was restricted to the maternal interface, and transcription of both long and short leptin receptor splice variants in the main body of the tissue thus proceeds via the OB-R/GRP promoter, strongly indicative of tissue-specific promoter usage.