Leptin regulation of hippocampal synaptic function in health and disease

Kirsty Hamilton, Jenni Harvey (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

7 Citations (Scopus)


It is widely accepted that the metabolic hormone leptin regulates food intake and body weight via activation of hypothalamic leptin receptors. However, as leptin receptors are also highly expressed in other brain regions, such as the hippocampus, alterations in leptin responsiveness also impacts on key functions of the hippocampus, like learning and memory. Within the hippocampus, high levels of leptin receptors are expressed at excitatory synapses, and in accordance with a synaptic localization, leptin potently regulates synaptic transmission at both Schaffer collateral (SC) and temporoammonic (TA) inputs to CA1 pyramidal neurons. Increasing evidence from cellular and behavioral studies examining leptin action at CA1 synapses support the notion that leptin is a potential cognitive enhancer. However, the capacity of leptin to regulate synaptic efficacy at SC-CA1 and TA-CA1 synapses declines in an age-dependent manner. Moreover, clinical evidence that supports a link between circulating leptin levels and the risk of the age-related neurodegenerative disorder, Alzheimer's disease (AD) is accumulating. Consequently, it has been proposed that the leptin system is a potential therapeutic target in AD, and that boosting the hippocampal actions of leptin may be beneficial in the treatment of AD. Here we review recent progress in our understanding of the neuronal and hippocampal synaptic functions that are regulated by leptin and how alterations in the leptin system influence age-related CNS-related disorders like AD.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHormones and Aging
EditorsGerald Litwack
PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
Number of pages23
ISBN (Print)9780323855488
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Publication series

ISSN (Print)0083-6729


  • Alzheimer's
  • AMPA receptor trafficking
  • Amyloid beta
  • Hippocampus
  • Leptin
  • Synaptic plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrinology


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