Non-insulin dependent diabetes (type 2) occurs in obese patients when cells become resistant to the effects of insulin through a mechanism that is not completely clear. In August Nature Medicine, two independent groups report for the first time that adiponectin — an adipocyte-derived hormone — can reverse the effects of insulin resistance in models of diabetes.

Takashi Kadowaki and colleagues from the University of Tokyo administered adiponectin to obese mice on a high fat diet and to mice that had reduced levels of body fat (lipoatrophy). They found that adiponectin decreases insulin resistance by decreasing triglyceride content in muscle and liver in obese mice and this effect results from increased expression of molecules involved in both fatty-acid combustion and energy dissipation in muscle. In addition insulin resistance in lipoatrophic mice was completely reversed by the combination of physiological doses of adiponectin and leptin, but only partially by either adiponectin...

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