Leptin, an adipocyte-derived hormone and its receptor (ObR) expressed in the hypothalamus are well known as an essential regulator of appetite and energy expenditure. Obesity induces abundant leptin production, however, reduced sensitivity to leptin leads to the development of metabolic disorders, so called leptin resistance. The stomach has been identified as an organ that simultaneously expresses leptin and ObR. Accumulating evidence has shown gastric leptin to perform diverse functions, such as those in nutrient absorption and carcinogenesis in the gastrointestinal system, independent of its well-known role in appetite regulation and obesity. Overexpression of leptin and phosphorylated ObR is implicated in gastric cancer in humans and in murine model, and diet-induced obesity causes precancerous lesions in the stomach in mice. While the underlying pathomechanisms remain unclear, leptin signaling can affect gastric mucosal milieu. In this review, we focus on the significant role of the gastric leptin signaling in neoplasia and tumorigenesis in stomach in the context of hereditary and diet-induced obesity.
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