Growing evidence indicates that the endocrine hormone leptin regulates hippocampal synaptic function in addition to its established role as a hypothalamic satiety signal. Indeed, numerous studies show that leptin facilitates the cellular events that underlie hippocampal learning and memory including activity-dependent synaptic plasticity and glutamate receptor trafficking, indicating that leptin may be a potential cognitive enhancer. Although there has been extensive investigation into the modulatory role of leptin at hippocampal Schaffer collateral (SC) CA1 synapses, recent evidence indicates that leptin also potently regulates excitatory synaptic transmission at the anatomically distinct temporoammonic (TA) input to hippocampal CA1 neurons. The cellular mechanisms underlying activity-dependent synaptic plasticity at TA-CA1 synapses differ from those at SC-CA1 synapses and the TA input is implicated in spatial and episodic memory formation. Furthermore, the TA input is an early target for neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and aberrant leptin function is linked to AD. Here, we review the evidence that leptin regulates hippocampal synaptic function at both SC- and TA-CA1 synapses and discuss the consequences for neurodegenerative disorders like AD.
- Excitatory synaptic transmission
- Synaptic plasticity