The thymoprotective function of leptin is indirectly mediated via suppression of obesity

Jayasree Sreenivasan, Susan Mariola Schlenner, Dean Franckaert, James Dooley and Adrian Liston

Leptin is an adipokine which regulates metabolism and plays an important role as a neuroendocrine hormone. Leptin mediates these functions via the leptin receptor, and deficiency in either leptin or its receptor leads to obesity in humans and mice. Leptin has far reaching effects on the immune system, as observed in obese mice, which display decreased thymic function and increased inflammatory responses. With expression of the leptin receptor on T cells and supporting thymic epithelium, aberrant signalling through the leptin receptor has been thought to be the direct cause of thymic involution in obese mice. Here, we demonstrate that the absence of leptin receptor on either thymic epithelial cells or T cells does not lead to the loss of thymic function, demonstrating that the thymoprotective effect of leptin is mediated by obesity suppression rather than direct signalling to the cellular components of the thymus. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.