Leptin and its actions on reproduction in males
Ifrah Alam Malik1, Damayanthi Durairajanayagam1, Harbindar Jeet Singh1,2
1 Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Sungai Buloh Campus, Sg Buloh 47000, Selangor, Malaysia
2 2I-PPerForM, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Sungai Buloh Campus, Sg Buloh 47000, Selangor, Malaysia
Harbindar Jeet Singh,
Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Sungai Buloh Campus, Sg Buloh 47000, Selangor, Malaysia; 2I-PPerForM, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Sungai Buloh Campus, Sg Buloh 47000, Selangor, Malaysia
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
Leptin, an adipocyte-derived hormone, serves numerous physiological functions in the body, particularly during puberty and reproduction. The exact mechanism by which leptin activates the gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons to trigger puberty and reproduction remains unclear. Given the widespread distribution of leptin receptors in the body, both central and peripheral mechanisms involving the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis have been hypothesized. Leptin is necessary for normal reproductive function, but when present in excess, it can have detrimental effects on the male reproductive system. Human and animal studies point to leptin as a link between infertility and obesity, a suggestion that is corroborated by findings of low sperm count, increased sperm abnormalities, oxidative stress, and increased leptin levels in obese men. In addition, daily leptin administration to normal-weight rats has been shown to result in similar abnormalities in sperm parameters. The major pathways causing these abnormalities remain unidentified; however, these adverse effects have been attributed to leptin-induced increased oxidative stress because they are prevented by concurrently administering melatonin. Studies on leptin and its impact on sperm function are highly relevant in understanding and managing male infertility, particularly in overweight and obese men.