Regulation of hippocampal synaptic function by the metabolic hormone leptin: implications for health and disease

Andrew Irving, Jenni Harvey (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
131 Downloads (Pure)


Significant advances have been made in our understanding of the hormone, leptin and its CNS actions in recent years. It is now evident that leptin has a multitude of brain functions, that extend beyond its established role in the hypothalamic control of energy balance. Additional brain regions including the hippocampus are important targets for leptin, with a high density of leptin receptors (LepRs) expressed in specific hippocampal regions and localised to CA1 synapses. Extensive evidence indicates that leptin has pro-cognitive actions, as it rapidly modifies synaptic efficacy at excitatory Schaffer collateral (SC)-CA1 and temporoammonic (TA)-CA1 synapses and enhances performance in hippocampal-dependent memory tasks. There is a functional decline in hippocampal responsiveness to leptin with age, with significant reductions in the modulatory effects of leptin at SC-CA1 and TA-CA1 synapses in aged, compared to adult hippocampus. As leptin has pro-cognitive effects, this decline in leptin sensitivity is likely to have negative consequences for cognitive function during the aging process. Here we review how evaluation of the hippocampal actions of leptin has improved our knowledge of the regulatory brain functions of leptin in health and provided significant insight into the impact of leptin in age-related neurodegenerative disorders linked to cognitive decline.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101098
Number of pages7
JournalProgress in Lipid Research
Early online date22 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • AMPA receptor
  • CA1 synapse
  • Hippocampus
  • Leptin
  • Long-term potentiation
  • Synaptic plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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