Background. In this study, we investigated the effect of leptin on caspase-3, caspase-8, and caspase-9 immunoreactivity and lipid peroxidation in the stomachs of rats exposed to cold-restraint stress. Methods. Thirty-two male Wistar Albino rats were used. Rats pretreated with leptin (10 mu g/kg per day for 7 days) were restrained in a wire cage for 4h at 4 degrees C. Spectrophotometric techniques were used for detection of malondialdehyde (MDA) and glutathione (GSH) levels, and immunoreactivity of caspases was investigated by immunohistochemistry. Results. While the stomach MDA level of the cold-restraint stress group was increased significantly, the level of GSH was decreased when compared with the control group. Caspase-9 and caspase-3 immunoreactivities of the stress group were not changed, while caspase-8 immunoreactivity was decreased. Leptin administration prevented the increase in the MDA level and the decrease in the GSH content of the gastric mucosa in animals subjected to stress. Leptin administration produced no significant change in caspase-8 immunoreactivity but caused a decrease in caspase-3 immunoreactivity. Conclusions. Cold-restraint stress decreases the antioxidant capacity of stomach tissue while activating oxidants, and induces apoptosis by an increase in caspase immunoreactivity. The presence of leptin reverses these mechanisms and suppresses the apoptosis.