Clinical Autonomic Research

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 1–7 | Cite as

Neuroanatomical determinants of the sympathetic nerve responses evoked by leptin

  • Shannon M. Harlan
  • Kamal RahmouniEmail author
Review Article


Leptin is an adipocyte-derived hormone that relays a satiety signal to the brain. The effect of leptin on the sympathetic nervous system is an important aspect in the regulation of energy homeostasis as well as several other physiological functions. The arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus is considered a major site for the regulation of physiological processes by leptin. However, there is growing recognition that other hypothalamic and extra-hypothalamic brain nuclei are important for leptin regulation of physiological processes including sympathetic nerve traffic. The current review discusses the various hypothalamic and extra-hypothalamic nuclei that have been implicated in leptin-induced increase in regional sympathetic nerve activity. The continuous rise in the prevalence of obesity underscores the importance of understanding the underlying neural mechanisms regulating sympathetic traffic to different tissues to design effective strategies to reverse obesity and associated diseases.


Leptin Brain nuclei Sympathetic nerve activity Energy metabolism Cardiovascular regulation 



The authors’ work is supported by grants from NIH (HL084207 and HL014388) and American Diabetes Association (1-11-BS-127). SMH is supported by Postdoctoral Fellowship Award from The American Heart Association (12POST9410009).

Conflict of interest



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© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PharmacologyUniversity of Iowa Carver College of MedicineIowa CityUSA
  2. 2.Department of Internal MedicineUniversity of Iowa Carver College of MedicineIowa CityUSA

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