Sci. Aging Knowl. Environ., 22 December 2004
Vol. 2004, Issue 51, p. or23


Visfatin: A Protein Secreted by Visceral Fat That Mimics the Effects of Insulin

Atsunori Fukuhara, Morihiro Matsuda, Masako Nishizawa, Katsumori Segawa, Masaki Tanaka, Kae Kishimoto, Yasushi Matsuki, Mirei Murakami, Tomoko Ichisaka, Hiroko Murakami, Eijiro Watanabe, Toshiyuki Takagi, Megumi Akiyoshi, Tsuguteru Ohtsubo, Shinji Kihara, Shizuya Yamashita, Makoto Makishima, Tohru Funahashi, Shinya Yamanaka, Ryuji Hiramatsu, Yuji Matsuzawa, and Iichiro Shimomura

Abstract: Science 16 December 2004 (10.1126/science.1097243) (Science Express Reports)

Fat tissue produces a variety of secreted proteins (adipocytokines) with important roles in metabolism. Here we isolate a new adipocytokine, "visfatin," that is highly enriched in the visceral fat of both humans and mice and whose expression level in plasma increases during the development of obesity. Visfatin corresponds to a protein identified previously as pre-B cell colony-enhancing factor (PBEF), a 52-kilodalton cytokine expressed in lymphocytes. Visfatin exerted insulin-mimetic effects in cultured cells and lowered plasma glucose levels in mice. Mice heterozygous for a targeted mutation in the visfatin gene had modestly higher plasma glucose levels compared with wild-type littermates. Surprisingly, visfatin binds to and activates the insulin receptor. Further study of visfatin's physiological role may lead to new insights into glucose homeostasis and/or new therapies for metabolic disorders like diabetes.


Science of Aging Knowledge Environment. ISSN 1539-6150