Editors' ChoiceObesity

Nesfatin-1: Of Mice and Men

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Science Translational Medicine  14 Jul 2010:
Vol. 2, Issue 40, pp. 40ec111
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3001467

Obesity, a considerable public health concern, is caused by an imbalance between energy intake and expenditure. Two key sites act as sources of peptides that are critical to each of these functions: the hypothalamus in the brain and adipose tissue (fat cells) in the body. A newly discovered peptide that promotes anorexia, nesfatin-1, has been identified in both of these locations. This peptide is derived from the larger molecule nucleobindin-2, and its amino acid sequence is very similar between humans and rodents. Because the data on nesfatin-1 expression, regulation, and secretion were limited, Ramanjaneya et al. have more closely examined these issues.

They first studied gene and protein expression in adipose tissues in humans and mice and showed that protein expression and secretion were higher there than in other tissues of the body. In samples of the adipose cells, nesfatin-1 protein production was stimulated in response to inflammatory cytokines, insulin, and the steroid dexamethasone. Adipose tissue from mice that were deprived of food contained less nucleobindin-2 mRNA and nesfatin-1 protein than did tissue from mice that were fed. Additionally, mice fed a high-fat diet had more nesfatin-1 protein than did those fed a standard diet with 10% fat. Notably, humans with a higher body mass index showed higher plasma concentrations of nesfatin-1 than in those with lower body mass index.

This extensive characterization of a newly described adipokine examines gene expression and protein regulation and secretion in both humans and mice. These results enable further investigation of this molecule, and the similarity of nesfatin-1 amino acid sequence in humans and mice will facilitate translational research efforts.

M. Ramanjaneya et al., Identification of nesfatin-1 in human and murine adipose tissue: A novel depot-specific adipokine with increased levels in obesity. Endocrinology 151, 3169–3180 (2010). [Abstract]

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