The impact of leptin on perinatal development and psychopathology

Publication date: Available online 23 May 2014 Source:Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy Author(s): Jeanette C. Valleau , Elinor L. Sullivan Leptin has long been associated with metabolism as it is a critical regulator of both food intake and energy expenditure, but recently, leptin dysregulation has been proposed as a mechanism of psychopathology. This review discusses the evidence supporting a role for leptin in mental health disorders and describes potential mechanisms that may underlie this association. Leptin plays a critical role in pregnancy and in fetal growth and development. Leptin's role and profile during development is examined in available human studies, and the validity of applying studies conducted in animal models to the human population are discussed. Rodents experience a postnatal leptin surge, which does not occur in humans or larger animal models. This suggests that further research using large mammal models, which have a leptin profile across pregnancy and development similar to humans, are of high importance. Maternal obesity and hyperleptinemia correlate with increased leptin levels in the umbilical cord, placenta, and fetus. Leptin levels are thought to impact fetal brain development; likely by activating proinflammatory cytokines that are known to impact many of the neurotransmitter systems that regulate behavior. Leptin is likely involved in behavioral regulation as leptin receptors are widely distributed in the brain, and leptin influences cortisol...
Source: Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy - Category: Neuroscience Source Type: research

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