The role of leptin and orexins in the dysfunction of hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal regulation and in the mechanism of hyperactivity in patients with anorexia nervosa.

: Anorexia nervosa (AN) belongs to a group of eating disorders and is characterized by extreme body weight loss. AN patients show combination of physical, psychological and behavioral disturbances. Neuropeptides partly control energy homeostasis and modulate hormone release. Leptin, a peptide secreted by adipocytes, may influence the interactions between central and peripheral signals. Hypoleptinaemia found in AN is connected with disturbed control of appetite and hormonal dysfunction as well as has implications for the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal axis, bone mineral density and physical hyperactivity. Low leptin levels are increased with refeeding. However, the prolonged hypoleptinaemia in weight recovered AN patients may result in persistent hypothalamic amenorrhoea. The hyperactivity has been observed in 31-80 % of AN cases. The mechanisms underlying the hyperactivity found in patients with anorexia nervosa seem to be more complicated as many factors including neuropeptides may be involved. Orexins may affect not only appetite but also behavior and psychophysical activity as they may regulate reproductive and stress hormone secretion, stimulate a variety of stereotypic behaviors including eating and stress reaction, and affect the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, alter glucocorticoid and catecholamine secretion and activate the sympathetic nervous system. Orexins influence the mechanism regulating arousal and sleep, cardiovascular function, temperature, metabolic rate and locomotive activity. It is worth considering how abnormal activity of hypothalamic neuropeptides or their receptors may play a role in the mechanisms of hyperactivity, disturbed control of appetite and hormonal dysfunction in patients with anorexia nervosa.

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