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Leptin in intestinal inflammation: good and bad gut feelings
  1. G Matarese1,
  2. R I Lechler2
  1. 1Gruppo di ImmunoEndocrinologia, Istituto di Endocrinologia ed Oncologia Sperimentale, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (IEOS-CNR), c/o Dipartimento di Biologia e Patologia Cellulare e Molecolare, Università di Napoli “Federico II”, Via S Pansini, 5-80131, Napoli, Italy
  2. 2Department of Immunology, Imperial College School of Medicine, Hammersmith Campus, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
    Professor R I Lechler
    Department of Immunology, Imperial College School of Medicine, Hammersmith Campus, Du Cane Road, London W12 ONN, UK;

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Leptin has a the potent effect on T cell mediated intestinal autoimmunity and may have a role in the development of such diseases

Leptin, a molecule that is critical in the regulation of energy balance, body weight, and reproductive function, is a strong regulator of T cell function.1 This is one of many examples of redundancy and of the overlapping roles of molecules within the neuroendocrine and immune systems.2 Leptin is part of the helical cytokine family along with interleukin (IL-) 6, IL-12, and IL-15, its receptor (ObR) belonging to the group of class I cytokine receptors, which includes gp-130, the common signal transducing component for the IL-6 related family of cytokines.1 Leptin is expressed particularly in adipose tissue and to a lesser extent in other tissues such as muscle, stomach, and placenta.1 More recently, leptin has also been shown to be expressed in activated inflammatory T helper 1 lymphocytes during experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, an animal model of multiple sclerosis.3 In keeping with these findings, the ObR has been found not only on the hypothalamus and adipose tissue but also on immune cells such as T lymphocytes and monocytes.1,4 Addition of this hormone to T cells in culture can alter both their growth rate and pattern of production of cytokines—proteins that influence or mediate immune functions.4,5 Indeed, leptin enhances the activity of T cells that produce proinflammatory cytokines and that orchestrate many …

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