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Yonsei Med J. 2012 Jul 1;53(4):671-9. doi: 10.3349/ymj.2012.53.4.671.

Leptin as a modulator of neuroendocrine function in humans.

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  • 1Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02215, USA.

Abstract

Leptin, a peptide hormone secreted by adipocytes in proportion of the amount of energy stored in fat, plays a central role in regulating human energy homeostasis. In addition, leptin plays a significant permissive role in the physiological regulation of several neuroendocrine axes, including the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal, -thyroid, -growth hormone, and -adrenal axes. Decreased levels of leptin, also known as hypoleptinemia, signal to the brain a state of energy deprivation. Hypoleptinemia can be a congenital or acquired condition, and is associated with alterations of the aforementioned axes aimed at promoting survival. More specifically, gonadotropin levels decrease and become less pulsatile under conditions of energy deprivation, and these changes can be at least partially reversed through leptin administration in physiological replacement doses. Similarly, leptin deficiency is associated with thyroid axis abnormalities including abnormal levels of thyrotropin-releasing hormone, and leptin administration may at least partially attenuate this effect. Leptin deficiency results in decreased insulin-like growth factor 1 levels which can be partially ameliorated through leptin administration, and leptin appears to have a much more pronounced effect on the growth of rodents than that of humans. Similarly, adrenal axis function is regulated more tightly by low leptin in rodents than in humans. In addition to congenital leptin deficiency, conditions that may be associated with decreased leptin levels include hypothalamic amenorrhea, anorexia nervosa, and congenital or acquired lipodystrophy syndromes. Accumulating evidence from proof of concept studies suggests that leptin administration, in replacement doses, may ameliorate neuroendocrine abnormalities in individuals who suffer from these conditions.

PMID:
22665330
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3381496
Free PMC Article
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