Leptin: Less is more

Shangang Zhao, Christine M. Kusminski, Joel K. Elmquist, Philipp E. Scherer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


The successful use of leptin for the treatment of individuals with lipodystrophy and leptin deficiency is well established. However, pharmacological approaches of leptin therapy for the treatment of diet-induced obesity have been ineffective. There is ample room for a better understanding of the much famed “leptin resistance” phenomenon. Our recent data in this area prompt us to call for a conceptual shift. This shift entails a model in which a reduction of bioactive leptin levels in the context of obesity triggers a high degree of leptin sensitization and improved leptin action, both centrally and peripherally. Put another way, hyperleptinemia per se causes leptin resistance and associated metabolic disorders. In this perspective, we briefly discuss the underlying conceptual steps that led us to explore partial leptin reduction as a viable therapeutic avenue. We hope this discussion will contribute to potential future applications of partial leptin reduction therapy for the treatment of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)823-829
Number of pages7
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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