The role of leptin in innate and adaptive immune responses
1 Department of Experimental Research, Institute of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, Vilnius University, Vilnius, Lithuania
2 Division of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine, University Hospital, Geneva, Switzerland
3 Department of Pathology and Immunology, University of Geneva School of Medicine, Geneva, Switzerland
Arthritis Research & Therapy 2006, 8:217 doi:10.1186/ar2004Published: 28 July 2006
Leptin is produced primarily by adipocytes and functions in a feedback loop regulating body weight. Leptin deficiency results in severe obesity and a variety of endocrine abnormalities in animals and humans. Several studies indicated that leptin plays an important role in immune responses. It exerts protective anti-inflammatory effects in models of acute inflammation and during activation of innate immune responses. In contrast, leptin stimulates T lymphocyte responses, thus having rather a proinflammatory role in experimental models of autoimmune diseases. Clinical studies have so far yielded inconsistent results, suggesting a rather complex role for leptin in immune-mediated inflammatory conditions in humans.