- Volume 30 Issue 1
Leptin, a 16-kDa cytokine, is secreted by adipose tissue in response to the surplus of fat store. Thereby, the brain is informed about the body's energy status. In the hypothalamus, leptin triggers specific neuronal subpopulations (e.g., POMC and NPY neurons) and activates several intracellular signaling events, including the JAK/STAT, MAPK, PI3K, and mTOR pathway, which eventually translates into decreased food intake and increased energy expenditure. Leptin signal is inhibited by a feedback inhibitory pathway mediated by SOCS3. PTP1B involves another inhibitory pathway of leptin. Leptin potently promotes fat mass loss and body weight reduction in lean subjects. However, it is not widely used in the clinical field because of leptin resistance, which is a common feature of obesity characterized by hyperleptinemia and the failure of exogenous leptin administration to provide therapeutic benefit in rodents and humans. The potential mechanisms of leptin resistance include the following: 1) increases in circulating leptin-binding proteins, 2) reduced transport of leptin across the blood-brain barrier, 3) decreased leptin receptor-B (LRB), and/or 4) the provocation of processes that diminish cellular leptin signaling (inflammation, endoplasmic reticulum stress, feedback inhibition, etc.). Thus, interference of the cellular mechanisms that attenuate leptin signaling improves leptin action in cells and animal models, suggesting the potential utility of these processes as points of therapeutic intervention. Various experimental trials and compounds that improve leptin resistance are introduced in this paper.