In human and ovine fetuses, glucocorticoids stimulate leptin secretion, although the extent to which leptin mediates the maturational effects of glucocorticoids on pulmonary development is unclear. This study investigated the effects of leptin administration on indices of lung structure and function before birth. Chronically catheterized singleton sheep fetuses were infused iv for 5 days with either saline or recombinant ovine leptin (0.5 mg/kg · d leptin (LEP), 0.5 LEP or 1.0 mg/kg · d, 1.0 LEP) from 125 days of gestation (term ∼145 d). Over the infusion, leptin administration increased plasma leptin, but not cortisol, concentrations.Onthe fifth day of infusion, 0.5 LEP reduced alveolar wall thickness and increased the volume at closing pressure of the pressure-volume deflation curve, interalveolar septal elastin content, secondary septal crest density, and the mRNA abundance of the leptin receptor (Ob-R) and surfactant protein (SP) B. Neither treatment influenced static lung compliance, maximal lung volume at 40 cmH2O, lung compartment volumes, alveolar surface area, pulmonary glycogen, protein content of the long form signaling Ob-Rb or phosphorylated signal transducers and activators of transcription-3, or mRNA levels of SP-A, C, or D, elastin, vascular endothelial growth factor-A, the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2, angiotensin-converting enzyme, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ, or parathyroid hormone-related peptide. Leptin administration in the ovine fetus during late gestation promotes aspects of lung maturation, including up-regulation of SP-B.