Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

Living Edition
| Editors: Marc Gellman


  • Falk KieferEmail author
  • Mustafa al’Absi
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6439-6_258-2


Leptin (Greek leptos: thin) is a protein hormone released mainly by white adipocytes. It binds at leptin receptors in brain neurons involved in regulating energy intake and expenditure, mainly in the lateral hypothalamus, where the activity of neurons containing neuropeptide Y (NPY) and agouti-related peptide (AgRP) is inhibited, while the activity of neurons expressing α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-MSH) is increased. The effects of leptin were observed by studying mutant obese mice (ob mice) that arose at random at the Jackson Laboratory in 1950. The human ob gene is located on chromosome 7 encoding a protein of 167 amino acids.

Even though leptin is also synthesized by other tissues including the placenta, ovaries, skeletal muscle, stomach, mammary epithelial cells, bone marrow, pituitary, and liver, circulating leptin concentration is highly associated with the total amount of body fat and positively correlated with BMI. Despite the fact that leptin is reducing...

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References and Further Reading

  1. Farooqi, S., & O’Rahilly, S. (2007). Genetics of obesity in humans. Endocrine Reviews, 27(7), 710–718.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Friedman, J. M., & Halaas, J. L. (1998). Leptin and the regulation of body weight in mammals. Nature, 395(6704), 763–770.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Grosshans, M., Vollmert, C., Vollstädt-Klein, S., Tost, H., Leber, S., Bach, P., Bühler, M., von der Goltz, C., Mutschler, J., Loeber, S., Hermann, D., Wiedemann, K., Meyer-Lindenberg, A., & Kiefer, F. (2012). Association of leptin with food cue-induced activation in human reward pathways. Archives of General Psychiatry, 69(5), 529–537.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Margetic, S., Gazzola, C., Pegg, G. G., & Hill, R. A. (2002). Leptin: A review of its peripheral actions and interactions. International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders, 26, 1407–1433.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Addictive Behaviour and Addiction MedicineCentral Institute of Mental HealthMannheimGermany
  2. 2.University of Minnesota Medical SchoolDuluthUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Marc D. Gellman
    • 1
  1. 1.Behavioral Medicine Research Center, Department of PsychologyUniversity of MiamiMiamiUSA