Leptin replacement alters brain response to food cues in genetically leptin-deficient adults

Kate Baicy, Edythe D. London, John Monterosso, Ma Li Wong, Tuncay Delibasi, Anil Sharma, Julio Licinio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

166 Citations (Scopus)


A missense mutation in the ob gene causes leptin deficiency and morbid obesity. Leptin replacement to three adults with this mutation normalized body weight and eating behavior. Because the neural circuits mediating these changes were unknown, we paired functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) with presentation of food cues to these subjects. During viewing of food-related stimuli, leptin replacement reduced brain activation in regions linked to hunger (insula, parietal and temporal cortex) while enhancing activation in regions linked to inhibition and satiety (prefrontal cortex). Leptin appears to modulate feeding behavior through these circuits, suggesting therapeutic targets for human obesity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18276-18279
Number of pages4
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number46
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 13 Nov 2007


  • Functional MRI
  • Hunger
  • Insula
  • Obesity
  • Prefrontal cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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