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In recent decades, obesity has become a global public health crisis irrespective of age or gender [20]. But according to historic records, concerns over appropriate maintenance of body size have been long established. For more than to 2 millennia, the main therapeutic approach to curb excess weight has been to recommend dietary restrictions and regular exercise (Haslam, 2016). Nevertheless, more contemporary studies indicate that the employment of such approaches in the treatment of severely obese patients causes metabolic adaptions which impair their long-term success in weight management [8]. These evidences highlight thus, the urgency in the search for a more comprehensive knowledge of the mechanisms that underlie the control of body weight, which would be essential for the development of effective strategies for the treatment of obesity and its comorbidities. Importantly, the discovery of the hormone leptin [33]and the use of novel techniques in targeted transgenesis [32] have enabled progress in defining some of the key players and the molecular mechanisms that are involved in the processes that control body size homeostasis and energy balance, and how obesity may disrupt leptin's feedback loop and lead to the pathology of metabolic syndrome. On the light of such findings, here we review how the sympathetic nervous system modulates adipose tissue metabolism downstream of leptin's action on the CNS, with particular focus on how this system may be disrupted in the context of excess adiposity, plus highlight the potential clinical implications arising from a better understanding of the physiologic control of the sympathetic neuro-adipose connection.

Original publication




Journal article


Exp Cell Res

Publication Date





27 - 30


Leptin, Neuro-adipose connection, Obesity, Sympathetic neurons, Adipose Tissue, Animals, Body Weight, Energy Metabolism, Humans, Sympathetic Nervous System