Leptin and the Immune Response

An Active Player or an Innocent Bystander?

Authors

  • Anna Carla Goldberg,

    1. Cell and Molecular Therapy Center, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
    2. Institute for Investigation in Immunology (iii), Institutos do Milênio, Brazilian Science and Technology Ministry, Brazil
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  • Freddy Goldberg-Eliaschewitz,

    1. Cell and Molecular Therapy Center, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
    2. Department of Internal Medicine, Hospital Heliópolis, São Paulo, Brazil
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  • Mari Cleide Sogayar,

    1. Cell and Molecular Therapy Center, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
    2. Department of Biochemistry, Chemistry Institute, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
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  • Julieta Genre,

    1. Department of Immunology, Biomedical Sciences Institutes, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
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  • Luiz Vicente Rizzo

    1. Institute for Investigation in Immunology (iii), Institutos do Milênio, Brazilian Science and Technology Ministry, Brazil
    2. Department of Immunology, Biomedical Sciences Institutes, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
    3. Division of Clinical Immunology and Allergy, University of São Paulo Medical School General Hospital, São Paulo, Brazil
    4. Laboratory of Medical Investigation-60, Department of Internal Medicine, University of São Paulo Medical School, São Paulo, Brazil
    5. Heart Institute, Fundação Zerbini, São Paulo, Brazil
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Errata

This article is corrected by:

  1. Errata: Corrigendum for Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. 1153: 184–192 Volume 1171, 659, Article first published online: 15 August 2009

Address for correspondence: Luiz Vicente Rizzo, Clinical Immunology Lab., Dept. Immunology, Biomedical Sciences Institute, University of Sao Paulo, Av. Prof. Lineu Prestes 1730, 05508-900, Sao Paulo – SP, Brazil. Voice: 55 11 3091 7430; fax: 55 11 3091 7394. lvrizzo@icb.usp.br

Abstract

Leptin is involved in the control of energy storage by the body. Low serum leptin levels, as seen in starvation, are associated with impaired inflammatory T cell responses that can be reversed by exogenous leptin. Common variable immunodeficiency (CVID) is characterized by hypogammaglobulinemia and recurrent infections. Several defects in T cell function have also been described, and allergy, autoimmune disease, and lymphomas or other malignancies can be present. Previous studies in Brazilian CVID patients have shown that, in contrast with mononuclear cells from healthy controls, CVID cells cultured with phytohemagglutinin and added leptin increased the proliferative response and decreased activation-induced apoptosis. Interleukin (IL)-2 and especially IL-4 production also increased significantly, although the effects of exposure to leptin were not observed uniformly in CVID patients. The majority, however, responded in some degree, and some exhibited completely restored values of the four parameters.These remarkable results indicate leptin could be used to improve immune function in these patients. On the other hand, we found no specific correlation between serum leptin levels and the number of infectious events over a 24-month period, presence of autoimmunity, allergies, or cancer in these patients. The results suggest that the absolute value of serum leptin does not determine the clinical behavior of patients or responses to leptin in vitro. Of note is the divergence between serum leptin, response to leptin in vitro, and the presence of autoimmunity, indicating the need to identify the cellular and molecular players involved in the regulation of the immune response by leptin in CVID.

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