The obesity and diabetes pandemics have made it an urgent necessity to define the central nervous system (CNS) pathways controlling body weight, energy expenditure, and fuel metabolism. The pancreatic hormone insulin and the adipose tissue-derived leptin are known to act on diverse neuronal circuits in the CNS to maintain body weight and metabolism in a variety of species, including humans. Because these homeostatic circuits are disrupted during the development of obesity, the pathomechanisms leading to CNS leptin and insulin resistance are a focal point of research. In this review, we summarize the recent findings concerning the mechanisms and novel neuronal mediators of both insulin and leptin action in the CNS.
© 2010 New York Academy of Sciences.