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International Journal of Endocrinology
Volume 2014, Article ID 232454, 10 pages
Review Article

Adipokines and the Female Reproductive Tract

1INRA, UMR85 Physiologie de la Reproduction et des Comportements, 37380 Nouzilly, France
2CNRS, UMR6175 Physiologie de la Reproduction et des Comportements, 37380 Nouzilly, France
3Université François Rabelais de Tours, 37041 Tours, France
4IFCE, 37380 Nouzilly, France

Received 29 November 2013; Accepted 27 December 2013; Published 18 February 2014

Academic Editor: Anna Ptak

Copyright © 2014 Maxime Reverchon et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


It is well known that adipose tissue can influence puberty, sexual maturation, and fertility in different species. Adipose tissue secretes molecules called adipokines which most likely have an endocrine effect on reproductive function. It has been revealed over the last few years that adipokines are functionally implicated at all levels of the reproductive axis including the gonad and hypothalamic-pituitary axis. Many studies have shown the presence and the role of the adipokines and their receptors in the female reproductive tract of different species. These adipokines regulate ovarian steroidogenesis, oocyte maturation, and embryo development. They are also present in the uterus and placenta where they could create a favorable environment for embryonic implantation and play a key role in maternal-fetal metabolism communication and gestation. Reproductive functions are strongly dependent on energy balance, and thereby metabolic abnormalities can lead to the development of some pathophysiologies such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Adipokines could be a link between reproduction and energy metabolism and could partly explain some infertility related to obesity or PCOS.