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J Chem Neuroanat. 2014 Nov;61-62:207-20. doi: 10.1016/j.jchemneu.2014.05.004. Epub 2014 Jul 4.

The neuroanatomical function of leptin in the hypothalamus.

Author information

1
Department of Translational Neuroscience, Division of Neuroscience, Brain Center Rudolf Magnus, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands; Master's Program Neuroscience and Cognition, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.
2
Department of Translational Neuroscience, Division of Neuroscience, Brain Center Rudolf Magnus, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
3
Department of Translational Neuroscience, Division of Neuroscience, Brain Center Rudolf Magnus, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands. Electronic address: g.vanderplasse@umcutrecht.nl.

Abstract

The anorexigenic hormone leptin plays an important role in the control of food intake and feeding-related behavior, for an important part through its action in the hypothalamus. The adipose-derived hormone modulates a complex network of several intercommunicating orexigenic and anorexigenic neuropeptides in the hypothalamus to reduce food intake and increase energy expenditure. In this review we present an updated overview of the functional role of leptin in respect to feeding and feeding-related behavior per distinct hypothalamic nuclei. In addition to the arcuate nucleus, which is a major leptin sensitive hub, leptin-responsive neurons in other hypothalamic nuclei, including the, dorsomedial-, ventromedial- and paraventricular nucleus and the lateral hypothalamic area, are direct targets of leptin. However, leptin also modulates hypothalamic neurons in an indirect manner, such as via the melanocortin system. The dissection of the complexity of leptin's action on the networks involved in energy balance is subject of recent and future studies. A full understanding of the role of hypothalamic leptin in the regulation of energy balance requires cell-specific manipulation using of conditional deletion and expression of leptin receptors. In addition, optogenetic and pharmacogenetic tools in combination with other pharmacological (such as the recent discovery of a leptin receptor antagonist) and neuronal tracing techniques to map the circuit, will be helpful to understand the role of leptin receptor expressing neurons. Better understanding of these circuits and the involvement of leptin could provide potential sites for therapeutic interventions in obesity and metabolic diseases characterized by dysregulation of energy balance.

KEYWORDS:

Feeding; Hypothalamus; Leptin; Neuropeptides; Ob-R

PMID:
25007719
DOI:
10.1016/j.jchemneu.2014.05.004
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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