Leptin and its potential interest in assisted reproduction cycles

Abstract : BACKGROUND: Leptin, an adipose hormone, has been shown to control energy homeostasis and food intake, and exert many actions on female reproductive function. Consequently, this adipokine is a pivotal factor in studies conducted on animal models and humans to decipher the mechanisms behind the infertility often observed in obese women. METHODS: A systematic PubMed search was conducted on all articles, published up to January 2015 and related to leptin and its actions on energy balance and reproduction, using the following key words: leptin, reproduction, infertility, IVF and controlled ovarian stimulation. The available literature was reviewed in order to provide an overview of the current knowledge on the physiological roles of leptin, its involvement in female reproductive function and its potential interest as a prognostic marker in IVF cycles. RESULTS: Animal and human studies show that leptin communicates nutritional status to the central nervous system and emerging evidence has demonstrated that leptin is involved in the control of reproductive functions by acting both directly on the ovaries and indirectly on the central nervous system. With respect to the clinical use of leptin as a biomarker in IVF cycles, a systematic review of the literature suggested its potential interest as a predictor of IVF outcome, as high serum and/or follicular fluid leptin concentrations have correlated negatively with cycle outcome. However, these preliminary results remain to be confirmed. CONCLUSION: Leptin regulates energy balance and female reproductive function, mainly through its action on hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian function, whose molecular and cellular aspects are progressively being deciphered. Preliminary studies evaluating leptin as a biomarker in human IVF seem promising but need further confirmation.
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A. Catteau, H. Caillon, Paul Barrière, M.G. Denis, D. Masson, et al.. Leptin and its potential interest in assisted reproduction cycles. Human Reproduction Update, Oxford University Press (OUP), 2016, 22 (3), pp.320-341. ⟨10.1093/humupd/dmv057⟩. ⟨inserm-02149269⟩

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