METABOLISMO ENERGETICO E RIPRODUZIONE: DUE FACCE DELLA STESSA MEDAGLIA

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Paolo Magni *
(*) Autore principale:
Paolo Magni | paolo.magni@unimi.it

Abstract

Living organisms possess numerous physiological functions. Among these, some are absolutely common to all animal species and therefore also to human species. We refer to the control of the reproductive function and to that of the energetic metabolism, which, intuitively, are fundamental phenomena for the survival of the individual and of the species. Research conducted over many years in our laboratory, for a long time under the supervision of professor Luciano Martini, have helped to link these two basic functions for life, exploring the common molecular bases. In fact, it has been observed that many common molecular factors contribute to the regulation of both reproduction and energy metabolism, ie food intake and energy expenditure. A peculiar anatomical site where this interaction takes place is certainly the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that integrates a huge amount of impulses and that, moment by moment, regulates a variety of physiological functions, including these two. At this level, among the most interesting molecules there is neuropeptide Y, which is not only the most powerful stimulator of appetite, but also participates in the regulation of the first part of the reproductive axis: the gonadotropin-releasing hormone-gonadotropin system. Another important element of this network of regulatory molecules is kisspeptin, which, among others, is also crucial in starting the pubertal process, also in relation to nutritional status. The dialogue between peripheral organs, such as the tissue or rather the adipose “organ”, and central structures is also interesting. In fact, adipose produces hormones called adipokines, such as leptin, which, reaching the hypothalamus, promotes a sense of satiety by reducing the release of neuropeptide Y. Leptin itself, however, is also a fundamental permissive factor for the activation of the reproductive system. In short, fundamental functions such as the control of energy metabolism and reproduction are in fact regulated in part by the same molecules, which suggests a deep reciprocal relationship, which can be altered under various pathological conditions.


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