Biological Action of Leptin as an Angiogenic Factor

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Science  11 Sep 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5383, pp. 1683-1686
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5383.1683

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Leptin is a hormone that regulates food intake, and its receptor (OB-Rb) is expressed primarily in the hypothalamus. Here, it is shown that OB-Rb is also expressed in human vasculature and in primary cultures of human endothelial cells. In vitro and in vivo assays revealed that leptin has angiogenic activity. In vivo, leptin induced neovascularization in corneas from normal rats but not in corneas fromfa/fa Zucker rats, which lack functional leptin receptors. These observations indicate that the vascular endothelium is a target for leptin and suggest a physiological mechanism whereby leptin-induced angiogenesis may facilitate increased energy expenditure.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: rocio_sierra-honigmann{at}

  • Present address: Harvard Medical School, Vascular Research Division, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

  • Present address: Institute for Diagnostic Research, Branford, CT 06405, USA.

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