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Brain Res. 2010 Sep 2;1350:2-9. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2010.04.011. Epub 2010 Apr 24.

Neurodevelopmental actions of leptin.

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The Saban Research Institute, Neuroscience Program, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90027, USA.


Leptin is well known as an important hormone in the central control of feeding behavior. During development, fetuses and newborns are exposed to leptin and recent evidence has shown that leptin receptors are widespread throughout the developing brain. Accordingly, leptin affects brain development during both pre- and postnatal life. The actions of leptin in the developing brain are generally permanent and range from the establishment of hypothalamic circuits to plasticity in cortical pathways. The cellular events mediated by leptin include the following: neurogenesis, axon growth, and synaptogenesis. Nutritional manipulation of leptin secretion during perinatal life has generated considerable concern, and the developing brain appears to be a particularly sensitive target for these environmental changes.

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