Role of Leptin in the Immune System

Author(s): Patricia Fernandez-Riejos, Carmen Gonzalez-Yanes, Souad Najib, Consuelo Martin-Romero, Jose Santos-Alvarez, Victor Sanchez-Margalet

Journal Name: Current Immunology Reviews

Volume 4 , Issue 4 , 2008

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Adipose tissue is no longer considered mere energy storage, but an important endocrine organ that produces many signals in a tightly regulated manner. Leptin is one of the most important hormones secreted by the adipocyte, with a variety of physiological roles related with the control of metabolism and energy homeostasis. One of these functions is the connection between nutritional status and immune competence. The adipocyte-derived hormone leptin has been shown to regulate the immune response both in normal as well as in pathological conditions. Leptins modulation of the immune system is exerted at the development, proliferation, anti-apoptotic, maturation, and activation levels. The role of leptin in regulating immune response has been assessed in vitro as well as in clinical studies. Both the innate and adaptative immune responses are regulated by leptin. Every cell type involved in immunity can be modulated by leptin. In fact, leptin receptors have been found in neutrophils, monocytes, and lymphocytes, as well as belonging to the family of class I cytokine receptors. Moreover, leptin activates similar signaling pathways to those engaged by other members of the family. The overall leptin action in the immune system is a proinflammatory effect, activating proinflammatory cells, promoting T-helper 1 responses, and mediating the production of the other proinflammatory cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor- α, interleukin (IL)-2, or IL-6. Leptin receptor is also upregulated by proinflammatory signals. It has been shown that conditions of reduced leptin production are associated with increased infection susceptibility. Conversely, immune-mediated disorders such as autoimmune diseases are associated with increased secretion of leptin and production of proinflammatory pathogenic cytokines. Thus, leptin is a mediator of the inflammatory response, and could have also a permissive role in the development of autoimmune diseases.

Keywords: Leptin, immune response, inflammation, cellular immunology, immune tolerance, autoimmunity

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Article Details

Year: 2008
Page: [230 - 234]
Pages: 5
DOI: 10.2174/157339508786447841
Price: $58

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