Journal of Molecular Medicine

, Volume 82, Issue 1, pp 4–11 | Cite as

Unraveling the multiple roles of leptin in inflammation and autoimmunity

  • Antonio La Cava
  • Carlo Alviggi
  • Giuseppe Matarese


Initially described as an antiobesity hormone, leptin has subsequently been shown also to influence hematopoiesis, thermogenesis, reproduction, angiogenesis, and immune homeostasis. Leptin links nutritional status and proinflammatory T helper 1 immune responses, and the decrease in leptin plasma concentration during food deprivation leads to impaired immune function. This review focuses on the multiple roles of leptin in chronic inflammation and autoimmunity and suggests new possible therapeutic implications for leptin modulators.


Leptin Autoimmunity Inflammation T cells 



Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis






T helper


Tumor necrosis factor



This work is partly supported by Fondazione Italiana Sclerosi Multipla and Comitato Trenta Ore per la Vita (Mediaset). A.L.C. is supported by the Arthritis National Research Foundation, the Lupus Foundation of America, and the California Community Foundation. This work is dedicated to the memory of Prof. Antonino Di Tuoro.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antonio La Cava
    • 1
  • Carlo Alviggi
    • 2
  • Giuseppe Matarese
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of MedicineUniversity of California Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Scienze Ostetriche, Ginecologiche, Urologiche e Medicina della RiproduzioneUniversità di Napoli Federico IINaplesItaly
  3. 3.Gruppo di ImmunoEndocrinologia, Istituto di Endocrinologia e Oncologia Sperimentale, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, c/o Dipartimento di Biologia e Patologia Cellulare e MolecolareUniversità di Napoli Federico IINaplesItaly

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