Weight regulation, leptin and growth hormone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

69 Scopus citations


Leptin, the product of the adipose tissue-specific ob gene, is a newly recognized hormone involved in the regulation of metabolism and body composition. Leptin appears to provide information to the central nervous system on the amount of energy stored in the adipose tissue. Serum leptin levels are highly correlated with body fat mass in adults, children and newborns. Obese individuals have significantly higher circulating leptin than normal, lean subjects. In addition, females have higher serum leptin than males with equivalent fat mass. Although leptin correlates with fat mass, circulating concentrations are altered by extremes in energy intake, such as fasting and overfeeding. Defects in leptin or its receptor in the hypothalamus lead to the development of obesity in several rodent models; however, no such deleterious defects have been identified in humans to date. Taken together, these observations suggest that humans may be resistant to their endogenous leptin levels. Despite this, studies in rodents demonstrating that leptin administration can cause weight loss in both ob/ob mice, and in normal weight controls suggest that leptin may be useful in the treatment of human obesity. This review will summarize the current understanding of leptin and its role in the regulation of body composition. In addition, the interaction of leptin with other metabolic hormones including growth hormone will be discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-121
Number of pages6
JournalHormone Research in Paediatrics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997


  • Growth hormone
  • Leptin
  • Ob gene
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology

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