Leptin is a circulating protein hormone produced by adipose tissue which regulates many metabolic functions. Animals which lack leptin or are resistance to the effects of leptin are obese and exhibit a characteristic neuroendocrine profile: elevated glucocorticoids, low thyroid hormone, low sex hormones, and low growth hormone. Plasma leptin levels generally correlate with total adipose mass. During aging in humans and rodents, leptin levels generally change in accordance with age-related changes in adiposity. Thus leptin increases (often as obesity develops) from adolescence until advanced age, at which point leptin begins to decrease as adiposity declines. There is however some evidence that leptin decreases late in life independent of changes in adiposity. Since advanced age is generally associated with a hormonal profile similar to that produced by leptin deficiency or leptin resistance, decreased leptin or leptin sensitivity during aging may contribute to some age-related changes in other hormone levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-108
Number of pages10
JournalReviews in Clinical Gerontology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2000


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