Fat cells manufacture and secrete adiponectin - a hormone that circulates through our blood and has antidiabetic and anti-atherogenic properties. A Letter in this week's Nature (Vol. 423, No. 6941, dated 12 June 2003, pp. 762-769) features the identification of receptors that seem to mediate adiponectin’s beneficial effects.
It is believed that adiponectin helps to regulate our blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin-mediated uptake of glucose in skeletal muscle, and by reducing the insulin-mediated glucose production in the liver. Takashi Kadowaki and colleagues cloned two receptors for adiponectin: one abundantly present in skeletal muscle and another predominantly expressed in the liver.
It is expected that the identification of adiponectin receptors 1 and 2 will boost our understanding of how adiponectin works - as its precise mechanism of action is not yet known. Furthermore, the receptors are potential drug targets, and their identification will aid the design of drugs for obesity-linked diseases, such as diabetes and atherosclerosis.
University of Tokyo and CREST
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Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza