Leptin regulates striatal regions and human eating behavior

Science. 2007 Sep 7;317(5843):1355. doi: 10.1126/science.1144599. Epub 2007 Aug 9.


Studies of the fat-derived hormone leptin have provided key insights into the molecular and neural components of feeding behavior and body weight regulation. An important challenge lies in understanding how the rewarding properties of food interact with, and can override, physiological satiety signals and promote overeating. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging to measure brain responses in two human patients with congenital leptin deficiency who were shown images of food before and after 7 days of leptin replacement therapy. Leptin was found to modulate neural activation in key striatal regions, suggesting that the hormone acts on neural circuits governing food intake to diminish the perception of food reward while enhancing the response to satiety signals generated during food consumption.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping
  • Corpus Striatum / drug effects
  • Corpus Striatum / physiology*
  • Eating
  • Feeding Behavior / drug effects
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leptin / deficiency*
  • Leptin / physiology*
  • Leptin / therapeutic use
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Nucleus Accumbens / physiology
  • Satiation / physiology
  • Visual Perception / drug effects
  • Visual Perception / physiology


  • Leptin