The role of the leptin in reproduction
Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol. Jun.
2006 doi: 10.1097/01.gco.0000193004.35287.89
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Since its discovery in 1994, leptin has appeared to be a pleiotrophic hormone, governing energy homeostasis and affecting many tissues in the body. Numerous pieces of evidence have accumulated showing that leptin potentially plays an important role in the control of the reproductive function. RECENT FINDINGS: This review presents the major concepts for the role of leptin in the modulation of reproductive function. As a marker of the nutritional status, leptin affects the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal axis, regulating gonadotrophin-releasing hormone and luteinising hormone secretion, and appears to be a permissive factor in the onset of the puberty. This protein and its receptor have been found in the reproductive tissues, indicating that this system could be also implicated in several processes such as embryo development, implantation and pregnancy. Moreover, disorders of the leptin system have been related to some reproductive pathologies such as pre-eclampsia and polycystic ovary syndrome. However, controversy surrounds several aspects of the action of leptin in reproduction that require a deeper investigation of this system. SUMMARY: Results to date suggest that this system could be implicated in important reproductive processes such as embryonic development and implantation. Moreover, understanding the role of leptin might be useful for new treatments in reproductive pathologies.