Author(s): Lago R, Gmez R, Lago F, GmezReino J, Gualillo O
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Abstract Leptin, a 16 kDa non-glycosylated polypeptide produced primarily by adipocytes and released into the systemic circulation, exerts a multitude of regulatory functions including energy utilization and storage, regulation of various endocrine axes, bone metabolism, and thermoregulation. In addition to leptin's best known role as regulator of energy homeostasis, several studies indicate that leptin plays a pivotal role in immune and inflammatory response. Because of its dual nature as a hormone and cytokine, leptin can be nowadays considered the link between neuroendocrine and immune system. The increase in leptin production that occurs during infections and inflammatory processes strongly suggests that this adipokine is a part of the cytokines network which governs inflammatory/immune response and host defence mechanisms. Indeed, leptin plays a relevant role in inflammatory processes involving either innate or adaptive immune responses. Several studies have implicated leptin in the pathogenesis of autoimmune inflammatory conditions such as encephalomyelitis, type I diabetes, bowel inflammation and also articular degenerative diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Although the mechanisms by which leptin exerts its action as modulator of inflammatory/immune response are likely to be more complex than predicted and far to be completely depicted, there is a general consensus about its pivotal role as pro-inflammatory and immune-modulating agent. Here, we review the most recent advances on leptin biology with a particular attention to its adipokine facet, even though its role as metabolic hormone will be also addressed.
This article was published in Cell Immunol
and referenced in Internal Medicine: Open Access