Obesity stands as one of the greatest healthcare challenges of the 21st century. Obesity in reproductive-age men is ever more frequent and is reaching upsetting levels. At the same time, fertility has taken an inverse direction and is decreasing, leading to an increased demand for fertility treatments. In half of infertile couples, there is a male factor alone or combined with a female factor. Furthermore, male fertility parameters such as sperm count and concentration went on a downward spiral during the last few decades and are now approaching the minimum levels established to achieve successful fertilization. Hence, the hypothesis that obesity and deleterious effects in male reproductive health, as reflected in deterioration of sperm parameters, are somehow related is tempting. Most often, overweight and obese individuals present leptin levels directly proportional to the increased fat mass. Leptin, besides the well-described central hypothalamic effects, also acts in several peripheral organs, including the testes, thus highlighting a possible regulatory role in male reproductive function. In the last years, research focusing on leptin effects in male reproductive function has unveiled additional roles and molecular mechanisms of action for this hormone at the testicular level. Herein, we summarize the novel molecular signals linking metabolism and male reproductive function with a focus on leptin signaling, mitochondria and relevant pathways for the nutritional support of spermatogenesis.

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