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Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Mar;89(3):973S-979S. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2008.26788B. Epub 2009 Feb 3.

Leptin at 14 y of age: an ongoing story.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, The Rockefeller University, 1230 York Avenue, Campus Box 305, New York, NY 10065, USA.


The cloning of the ob gene and its gene product leptin has led to the elucidation of a robust physiologic system that maintains constancy of fat stores. Leptin is a peptide hormone secreted by adipose tissue and regulates adipose tissue mass and energy balance. Recessive mutations in the leptin gene are associated with massive obesity in mice and in some humans, which establishes a genetic basis for obesity. Leptin circulates in blood and acts on the brain to regulate food intake and energy expenditure. When fat mass decreases, plasma leptin concentrations decrease, which stimulates appetite and suppresses energy expenditure until fat mass is restored. When fat mass increases, leptin concentrations increase, which suppresses appetite until weight is lost. This system maintains homeostatic control of adipose tissue mass.

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