The aim of this study was to determine whether photoperiod-induced changes in body and fat mass are accompanied by changes in leptin and corticosterone concentrations in collared lemmings. At weaning, eighty male lemmings were maintained in either long photoperiod (LD, n=40) or short photoperiod (SD, n=40). Ten weeks post-weaning lemmings were weighed and assigned to a secondary photoperiod that consisted of either remaining in the same photoperiod or being transferred to the alternate photoperiod (LD-LD, LD-SD, SD-SD, and SD-LD; n=20 per group). Ten days post-switch, half the animals from each group were sacrificed. The remaining animals were sacrificed on day 21 post-switch. Blood was collected for determination of serum leptin and corticosterone, and carcasses were analyzed for body composition. LD-SD lemmings gained the most weight, whilst SD-LD lemmings lost weight. SD-LD lemmings had significantly lower leptin levels relative to fat mass than SD-SD lemmings. Corticosterone levels were higher in the SD-LD than SD-SD lemmings on both days 10 and 21. Levels were not significantly different between LD-LD and LD-SD lemmings; however by day 21 the levels were slightly lower in the LD-SD lemmings. Discussion. Lemmings showed seasonally appropriate body weight changes in response to the changing photoperiod. Weight loss was associated with higher corticosterone, and lower leptin levels adjusted for fat mass. Neither relative leptin levels, nor corticosterone levels changed significantly with weight gain. Our results indicate that corticosterone and leptin are associated more with seasonal weight loss than weight gain in lemmings. © 2003 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.