Leptin in reproduction

Massimiliano Caprio, Elisa Fabbrini, Andrea M. Isidori, Antonio Aversa, Andrea Fabbri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In mammals, the function of the reproductive system is dependent on the availability of energy in the environment. It is well established that acute modifications of energy balance modulate the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. In several species, fasting and caloric restriction have been shown to cause the suppression of pulsatile luteinizing hormone secretion, via an inhibition of the gonadotropin-releasing hormone pulse generator. Such a mechanism probably prevents energy being wasted for reproduction. By contrast, excessive energy storage and obesity interfere with the correct regulation of the reproductive axis. The identification of leptin and leptin receptors, along with studies performed in animal models of leptin deficiency and resistance, has focused attention on the role of this molecule in reproduction, and disclosed new aspects of the relationship between energy stores, adipose tissue and reproductive function. Here, we discuss the central and peripheral effects of leptin on reproductive tissues, and try to fit a complex reality into a simplified model. In particular, the roles of leptin in reproduction at different anatomical levels and in various clinical and experimental settings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-72
Number of pages8
JournalTrends in Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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