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Since its discovery in 1994, leptin has been considered as an adipokine with pleiotropic effects. In this review, we summarize the actual information about the impact of this hormone on cartilage metabolism and pathology. Leptin signalling depends on the interaction with leptin receptor LEPR, being the long isoform of the receptor (LEPRb) the one with more efficient intracellular signalling. Chondrocytes express the long isoform of the leptin receptor and in these cells, leptin signalling, alone or in combination with other molecules, induces the expression of pro-inflammatory molecules and cartilage degenerative enzymes. Leptin has been shown to increase the proliferation and activation of immune cells, increasing the severity of immune degenerative cartilage diseases. Leptin expression in serum and synovial fluid are related to degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Inhibition of leptin signalling showed to have protective effects in these diseases showing the key role of leptin in cartilage degeneration.


Alfonso Cordero-Barreal, María González-Rodríguez, Clara Ruiz-Fernández, Djedjiga Ait Eldjoudi, Yousof Ramadan Farrag AbdElHafez, Francisca Lago, Javier Conde, Rodolfo Gómez, Miguel Angel González-Gay, Ali Mobasheri, Jesus Pino, Oreste Gualillo. An Update on the Role of Leptin in the Immuno-Metabolism of Cartilage. International journal of molecular sciences. 2021 Feb 27;22(5)

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PMID: 33673730

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