Scientist Visits Colorado State University to Lecture on Obesity Hormone

A renowned scientist will visit Colorado State University Feb. 20, to discuss the role of leptin, a protein linked to obesity that may regulate eating behavior.

Robert Considine, assistant professor at the Indiana University School of Medicine, will present his lecture, "Physiology of Leptin in Humans," at 3 p.m. in Room A104 Clark Building on campus. Considine will discuss what leptin is, how it may affect obesity in humans and how an understanding of leptin could lead to a treatment for obesity. The lecture is free and open to the public.

"Leptin research is so important because when we understand the different causes of obesity, we may be able to manage and prevent it," said Matt Hickey, assistant professor in the exercise and sport science department at Colorado State.

Leptin has been studied with increasing intensity since its discovery in 1994. Leptin is secreted from fat tissue, and is thought to act as a signal to tell the brain the condition of body energy stores. The level of leptin circulating in the blood correlates highly with the amount of fat in the body. Normally, when fat and leptin increase, a signal goes to the brain which reduces appetite and maintains proper body weight. Some people may build up a resistance to leptin, which may contribute to obesity.

Considine was the first scientist to clone both the human leptin gene and the gene for its receptor. In addition, he was author of a New England Journal of Medicine report which first documented the relation between body fat and circulating levels of leptin in humans.

"Robert Considine is a pioneer in this field," said Richard Israel, department chairman of exercise and sport science. "Scientists worldwide, including members of the Leptin Research Interest Group here at Colorado State, are working toward an understanding which could have enormous implications for public health. The development of a treatment for obesity could affect millions of people."

Considine’s visit is hosted by the Leptin Research Interest Group, an interdisciplinary faculty research group studying the physiology of obesity and energy balance in humans and animals.

For more information, contact Hickey at (970) 491-1194.