This study examined the effect of ponderal index (PI) at birth on the relationships between eight common polymorphisms of the leptin (LEP) and leptin receptor (LEPR) genes and adiposity in adolescents. A total of 823 European adolescents (45.4% girls) aged 14.8 ± 1.4 years were genotyped for the LEP (rs2167270, rs12706832, rs10244329, rs2071045, and rs3828942) and LEPR (rs1137100, rs1137101, and rs8179183) polymorphisms. The PI was calculated from parental reports of birth weight and length. Fat mass index (FMI) was calculated. Analyses were adjusted for relevant confounders. An "adiposity-risk-allele score" based on genotypes at the three single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with adolescents' FMI in adolescents within the lower tertile of PI was calculated. The LEP rs10244329 and rs3828942 polymorphisms were associated with higher FMI only in adolescents within the lower PI tertile (+0.55 kg/m(2) per minor T allele, P = 0.040, and +0.58 kg/m(2) per major G allele, P = 0.028, respectively). The LEPR rs8179183 polymorphism was significantly associated with higher FMI in adolescents within the lower PI tertile (+0.87 kg/m(2) per minor C allele, P = 0.006). After correction for multiple comparisons, only the association between the LEPR rs8179183 and FMI persisted. However, each additional risk allele conferred 0.53 kg/m(2) greater FMI in adolescents within the lower tertile of PI (P = 0.008). In conclusion, our results suggest that those adolescents born with lower PI could be more vulnerable to the influence of the LEP rs10244329 and rs3828942 polymorphisms and LEPR rs8179183 polymorphism on total adiposity content. Due to the relatively small sample size, these findings should be replicated in further larger population samples.