The role of leptin in the respiratory system: an overview
Since its cloning in 1994, leptin has emerged in the literature as a pleiotropic hormone whose actions extend from immune system homeostasis to reproduction and angiogenesis. Recent investigations have identified the lung as a leptin responsive and producing organ, while extensive research has been published concerning the role of leptin in the respiratory system. Animal studies have provided evidence indicating that leptin is a stimulant of ventilation, whereas researchers have proposed an important role for leptin in lung maturation and development. Studies further suggest a significant impact of leptin on specific respiratory diseases, including obstructive sleep apnoea-hypopnoea syndrome, asthma, COPD and lung cancer. However, as new investigations are under way, the picture is becoming more complex. The scope of this review is to decode the existing data concerning the actions of leptin in the lung and provide a detailed description of leptin's involvement in the most common disorders of the respiratory system.