Leptin is one of the adipocytokines produced from adipose tissue but its functions in periodontal tissue have not previously been investigated. In our current study, we examined the effects of leptin on the expression of interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-8 in periodontal ligament (PDL) cells and gingival fibroblasts. Leptin receptor expression was evaluated by RT-PCR and the production of cytokines was measured by ELISA. The phosphorylation of Akt and Erk1/2 was assessed by western blotting. mRNA of long and short form leptin receptors were detected in both PDL cells and gingival fibroblasts. Leptin was found to increase the production of IL-6 and IL-8 in both of these cell types, an effect which was not blocked by polymyxin B, an inhibitor of lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Leptin did not alter the production of IL-6 and IL-8 induced by LPS in PDL cells but increased Akt and Erk1/2 phosphorylation in these cells. These results suggest that leptin acts as an inducer of IL-6 and IL-8 in PDL cells and gingival fibroblasts.