Leptin: fundamental aspects

P Trayhurn, Nigel Hoggard, Julian Mercer, D V Rayner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

201 Citations (Scopus)


The discovery of leptin, the product of the ob gene, has led to major developments in understanding the regulation of energy balance. It is now recognised that leptin is produced in several organs additional to white adipose tissue, including brown fat, the placenta and fetal tissues (such as heart and bone/cartilage). The hormone has multiple functions-in inhibiting food intake, in the stimulation/maintenance of energy expenditure, as a signal to the reproductive system and as a 'metabolic' hormone influencing a range of processes (for example, insulin secretion, lipolysis, sugar transport). The production of leptin by white fat is subject to a number of regulatory influences, including insulin and glucocorticoids (which are stimulatory), and fasting and beta-adrenoceptor agonists (which are inhibitory). A key role in the regulation of leptin production by white fat is envisaged for the sympathetic system, operating through beta3-adrenoceptors. The leptin receptor gene is widely expressed, with the several splice variants exhibiting different patterns of expression. The long form variant (Ob-Rb) is expressed particularly in the hypothalamus, although it is being increasingly identified in other tissues. Leptin exerts its central effects through several neuroendocrine systems, including neuropeptide Y, glucagon-like peptide-1, melanocortins, corticotrophin releasing hormone (CRH) and cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART). In essence, the leptin system now appears highly complex, the hormone being involved in a range of physiological processes in a manner far transcending the initial lipostatic concept. This complexity may reduce the potential of the leptin system as a target for anti-obesity therapy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-28
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Issue numberSuppl 1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 1999


  • Adipose Tissue
  • Animals
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Humans
  • Leptin
  • Obesity
  • Proteins
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Receptors, Leptin
  • ob gene
  • white adipose tissue
  • energy balance
  • sympathetic nervous system


Dive into the research topics of 'Leptin: fundamental aspects'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this