Neurotrophic factor control of satiety and body weight

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2016 May;17(5):282-92. doi: 10.1038/nrn.2016.24. Epub 2016 Apr 7.


Energy balance--that is, the relationship between energy intake and energy expenditure--is regulated by a complex interplay of hormones, brain circuits and peripheral tissues. Leptin is an adipocyte-derived cytokine that suppresses appetite and increases energy expenditure. Ironically, obese individuals have high levels of plasma leptin and are resistant to leptin treatment. Neurotrophic factors, particularly ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), are also important for the control of body weight. CNTF can overcome leptin resistance in order to reduce body weight, although CNTF and leptin activate similar signalling cascades. Mutations in the gene encoding BDNF lead to insatiable appetite and severe obesity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Body Weight / physiology*
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / metabolism*
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / pharmacology
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / therapeutic use
  • Ciliary Neurotrophic Factor / metabolism*
  • Ciliary Neurotrophic Factor / pharmacology
  • Ciliary Neurotrophic Factor / therapeutic use
  • Energy Metabolism / drug effects
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology
  • Humans
  • Obesity / drug therapy
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Satiety Response / drug effects
  • Satiety Response / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Ciliary Neurotrophic Factor