Leptin: A Novel Therapeutic Target in the Fight against Neuro-Degeneration? pp. 55-70
Authors: (G.H. Doherty, School of Biology, University of St. Andrews, Fife, United Kingdom)
Abstract: Neurodegenerative diseases present one of the greatest ongoing challenges to modern medicine with a paucity of therapies available and a lack of understanding as to why many patients develop these disorders. Given that neurodegeneration largely affects the elderly and that the world is seeing a marked demographic shift towards an ageing population, the need to better understand and treat these conditions is becoming ever more urgent. Recent research has implicated low levels of the anti-obesity hormone leptin in the development of neurodegeneration and has suggested that exogenous leptin may offer protection from the loss of neurons associated with this process. At the moment our understanding of leptin‘s potential in this field is very much in its infancy, thus it seems timely to bring the emerging evidence together. Therefore, this chapter considers the data revealing that leptin deficiency can play a key role in degenerative changes in the central nervous system and investigates the potential of leptin as a novel therapeutic reagent in the fight against neurodegenerative diseases.