Hypothalamic pathways linking energy balance and reproduction

Jennifer W. Hill, Joel K. Elmquist, Carol F. Elias

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

297 Scopus citations


During periods of metabolic stress, animals must channel energy toward survival and away from processes such as reproduction. The reproductive axis, therefore, has the capacity to respond to changing levels of metabolic cues. The cellular and molecular mechanisms that link energy balance and reproduction, as well as the brain sites mediating this function, are still not well understood. This review focuses on the best characterized of the adiposity signals: leptin and insulin. We examine their reproductive role acting on the classic metabolic pathways of the arcuate nucleus, NPY/AgRP and POMC/CART neurons, and the newly identified kisspeptin network. In addition, other hypothalamic nuclei that may play a role in linking metabolic state and reproductive function are discussed. The nature of the interplay between these elements of the metabolic and reproductive systems presents a fascinating puzzle, whose pieces are just beginning to fall into place.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E827-E832
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2008


  • Gonadotropin-releasing hormone
  • Insulin
  • Kisspeptin
  • Leptin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Hypothalamic pathways linking energy balance and reproduction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this