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Annu Rev Nutr. 2000;20:45-75.

Leptin--much more than a satiety signal.

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Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70808, USA.


Much attention has focused on the effects of leptin as a central satiety agent. There is now a significant amount of evidence that leptin is active in the periphery. This review focuses on the ability of leptin to modify insulin sensitivity, tissue metabolism, stress responses, and reproductive function. Leptin's effect on several of these systems is mediated via the hypothalamic-pituitary axis. Therefore, although in vitro studies provide evidence for direct effects on specific tissues and metabolic pathways, it is essential to consider the interactions between leptin and other regulatory factors in vivo. Little is known about the regulation of peripheral receptor expression or the production of binding proteins. Both of these factors determine the bioactivity of circulating leptin and have the potential to induce a peripheral resistance to leptin, similar to the central "leptin resistance" observed in obese subjects. Future research will clarify which of the endocrine and metabolic actions of peripheral leptin are of physiological relevance and which should be considered a pharmacological manipulation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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