, Volume 10, Issue 6, pp 434-439
Date: 23 Nov 2008

Leptin and mechanisms of endothelial dysfunction and cardiovascular disease

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Leptin, a product of the obesity gene, is a molecule that has received much attention since its cloning in 1994. Initially, most work centered around the effects of leptin on satiety and energy balance. However, in recent years there has been an intense focus on leptin as it relates to the cardiovascular system. Plasma leptin concentration is markedly elevated in obesity and the metabolic syndrome, both of which are associated with increased incidence of cardiovascular pathologies. In many studies, hyperleptinemia has been linked to endothelial dysfunction (a known precursor to atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease) and activation of the sympathetic nervous system. Additionally, recent evidence suggests that leptin released from perivascular adipose tissue may also have deleterious effects on the underlying vasculature, including the coronary circulation. This report reviews pertinent literature on leptin-mediated endothelial dysfunction, leptin-mediated sympathetic activation, and leptin as a significant perivascular adipose-derived factor.