The aim of the study was to evaluate protective effects of exogenous leptin on ischemia/reperfusion (I/R)-induced injuries to the urinary bladder tissue and to investigate the effect on tumor necrosis factor alpha(TNF-alpha) levels and apoptotic cells during I/R injury. Bladder I/R injury was induced by abdominal aorta occlusion by ischemia for 45 min, followed by 60 min of reperfusion in rats. The rats were divided into three groups: control (n = 8 + 8), I/R (n = 8 + 8) and I/R+leptin group (n = 8 + 8). The rats in the I/R+leptin group were treated intraperitoneally with leptin (10 mu g/kg) 60 min prior to ischemia induction. At the end of the reperfusion period, urinary bladders of the first eight rats from each group were removed for TUNEL staining processing while the others were removed for biochemical analyses for MDA and TNF-alpha levels. In the I/R group, the ratios of TUNEL-positive nuclei were higher than the control and the I/R+leptin groups. The MIDA and TNF-alpha levels of the bladder tissue in the I/R group were higher than the control and leptin-treated groups. TUNEL-staining and biochemical studies revealed that leptin has a protective effect on urinary bladder I/R injury.