Leptin: a novel therapeutic target in Alzheimer's disease?
Beccano-Kelly D., Harvey J.
It is well established that the hormone leptin circulates in the plasma in amounts proportional to body fat content and it regulates food intake and body weight via its actions in the hypothalamus. However, numerous studies have shown that leptin receptors are widely expressed throughout the CNS and evidence is growing that leptin plays a role in modulating a variety of neuronal processes. In particular, recent studies have highlighted a potential cognitive enhancing role for leptin as it regulates diverse aspects of hippocampal synaptic function that are thought to underlie learning and memory processes including glutamate receptor trafficking, dendritic morphology, and activity-dependent synaptic plasticity. Characterisation of the novel actions of leptin in limbic brain regions is providing valuable insights into leptin's role in higher cognitive functions in health and disease.