Leptin-induced Signal Transduction Pathways

Cell Biol Int. 2004;28(3):159-69. doi: 10.1016/j.cellbi.2003.12.003.


Leptin is a multifunctional cytokine and hormone that primarily acts in the hypothalamus and plays a key role in the regulation of food intake and energy expenditure. In addition, it has direct effects on many cell types on the periphery. Leptin acts through its receptor, the product of the db gene, which has six isoforms. Only one of them (OB-Rb) has full signalling capabilities and is able to activate the Jak/STAT pathway, the major pathway used by leptin to exert its effects. However, some signalling events can be initiated by the short isoforms. Besides Jak/STAT, other pathways, such as MAPK and the 5'-AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) pathway, are also involved in leptin signalling. Leptin also interacts with insulin signalling. In this paper, we give an overview of the signal transduction mechanisms that are related to the actions of leptin.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Leptin / physiology*
  • Lipids / physiology
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / physiology
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / physiology
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / physiology
  • Receptors, Leptin
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Trans-Activators / physiology


  • Leptin
  • Lipids
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Receptors, Leptin
  • Trans-Activators
  • leptin receptor, human
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases