Leptin regulates energy homeostasis and reproductive, neuroendocrine, immune, and metabolic functions. In this review, we describe the role of leptin in human physiology and review evidence from recent " proof of concept" clinical trials using recombinant human leptin in subjects with congenital leptin deficiency, hypoleptinemia associated with energy-deficient states, and hyperleptinemia associated with garden-variety obesity. Since most obese individuals are largely leptin-tolerant or -resistant, therapeutic uses of leptin are currently limited to patients with complete or partial leptin deficiency, including hypothalamic amenorrhea and lipoatrophy. Leptin administration in these energy-deficient states may help restore associated neuroendocrine, metabolic, and immune function and bone metabolism. Leptin treatment is currently available for individuals with congenital leptin deficiency and congenital lipoatrophy. The long-term efficacy and safety of leptin treatment in hypothalamic amenorrhea and acquired lipoatrophy are currently under investigation. Whether combination therapy with leptin and potential leptin sensitizers will prove effective in the treatment of garden-variety obesity and whether leptin may have a role in weight loss maintenance is being greatly anticipated.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by Grants DK58785, DK079929, and DK081913 from the National Institute of Health to Christos Mantzoros.
- Energy homeostasis
- Insulin resistance
- Leptin deficiency
- Leptin resistance
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrine and Autonomic Systems