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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter December 20, 2021

The relation between obesity, kisspeptin, leptin, and male fertility

Saber Ghaderpour ORCID logo, Rafighe Ghiasi, Hamed Heydari and Rana Keyhanmanesh ORCID logo


Over the past decades, obesity and infertility in men increased in parallel, and the association between both phenomena have been examined by several researchers. despite the fact that there is no agreement, obesity appears to affect the reproductive potential of men through various mechanisms, such as changes in the hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular (HPT) axis, spermatogenesis, sperm quality and/or alteration of sexual health. Leptin is a hormone produced by the adipose tissue, and its production elevates with increasing body fat. Many studies have supported the relationship between raised leptin production and reproductive function regulation. In fact, Leptin acts on the HPT axis in men at all levels. However, most obese men are insensitive to increased production of endogenous leptin and functional leptin resistance development. Recently, it has been recommended that Kisspeptin neurons mediate the leptin’s effects on the reproductive system. Kisspeptin binding to its receptor on gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons, activates the mammal’s reproductive axis and stimulates GnRH release. Increasing infertility associated with obesity is probably mediated by the Kisspeptin-GnRH pathway. In this review, the link between obesity, kisspeptin, leptin, and male fertility will be discussed.

Corresponding authors: Rafighe Ghiasi, PhD, Assistant Professor of Physiology, Department of Physiology, Tabriz Faculty of Medical Science, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Gholghasht St, Tabriz, Iran; and Drug Applied Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran, E-mail: ; and Rana Keyhanmanesh, MD, PhD, Professor of Physiology, Drug Applied Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Gholghasht St, Tabriz, Iran; and Department of Physiology, Tabriz Faculty of Medical Science, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran, Phone: +98 4133364664, Fax: +98 4133364664, E-mail:

Funding source: Drug Applied Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences


This research was authorized by the “Drug Applied Research Center” affiliated to “Tabriz University of Medical Sciences in Tabriz, Iran”.

  1. Research funding: This research was financially supported by the Drug applied research center, Tabriz university of medical sciences, Tabriz, Iran.

  2. Author contributions: S.G. and H.H. reviewed the articles and collected data. R.K. and R.G. edited the manuscript and supervised the study. All authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this manuscript and approved its submission.

  3. Competing interests: Authors state no conflict of interest.

  4. Informed consent: Not applicable.

  5. Ethical approval: Not applicable.


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Received: 2021-07-09
Accepted: 2021-11-22
Published Online: 2021-12-20

© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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