Leptin is a master regulator of energy balance and body adiposity. Additionally, leptin exerts important control on glucose homeostasis, thermogenesis, autonomic nervous system and neuroendocrine axes. In metabolic diseases, such as obesity and diabetes mellitus, leptin signaling may be compromised, indicating the important role of this hormone in the etiology and pathophysiological manifestations of these conditions. In the present manuscript, we reviewed important concepts of leptin signaling, as well as about the effects of leptin on several biologic functions. We also discussed the possible therapeutic use of leptin administration and how our current obesogenic environment contributes to the development of leptin resistance. Our objective was to provide a comprehensive and state-of-the-art review about the importance of leptin to maintain the homeostasis and during pathological conditions.
Keywords: Hypothalamus; diabetes; energy balance; food intake; obesity.