• Chemerin: A multifaceted adipokine involved in metabolic disorders

      Helfer, Gisela; Wu, Q-F. (2018-05-30)
      Metabolic syndrome is a global public health problem and predisposes individuals to obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Although the underlying mechanisms remain to be elucidated, accumulating evidence has uncovered a critical role of adipokines. Chemerin, encoded by the gene Rarres2, is a newly discovered adipokine involved in inflammation, adipogenesis, angiogenesis and energy metabolism. In humans, local and circulating levels of chemerin are positively correlated with body mass index and obesity-related biomarkers. In this review, we discuss both peripheral and central roles of chemerin in regulating body metabolism. In general, chemerin is upregulated in obese and diabetic animals. Previous studies by gain or loss of function show an association of chemerin with adipogenesis, glucose homeostasis, food intake and body weight. In the brain, the hypothalamus integrates peripheral afferent signals including adipokines to regulate appetite and energy homeostasis. Chemerin increases food intake in seasonal animals by acting on hypothalamic stem cells, the tanycytes. In peripheral tissues, chemerin increases cell expansion, inflammation and angiogenesis in adipose tissue, collectively resulting in adiposity. While chemerin signalling enhances insulin secretion from pancreatic islets, contradictory results have been reported on how chemerin links to obesity and insulin resistance. Given the association of chemerin with obesity comorbidities in humans, advances in translational research targeting chemerin are expected to mitigate metabolic disorders. Together, the exciting findings gathered in the last decade clearly indicate a crucial multifaceted role for chemerin in the regulation of energy balance, making it a promising candidate for urgently needed pharmacological treatment strategies for obesity.
    • Pleiotropic Effects of Proopiomelanocortin and VGF Nerve Growth Factor Inducible Neuropeptides for the Long-Term Regulation of Energy Balance

      Helfer, Gisela; Stevenson, T.J. (2020)
      Seasonal rhythms in energy balance are well documented across temperate and equatorial zones animals. The long-term regulated changes in seasonal physiology consists of a rheostatic system that is essential to successful time annual cycles in reproduction, hibernation, torpor, and migration. Most animals use the annual change in photoperiod as a reliable and robust environmental cue to entrain endogenous (i.e. circannual) rhythms. Research over the past few decades has predominantly examined the role of first order neuroendocrine peptides for the rheostatic changes in energy balance. These anorexigenic and orexigenic neuropeptides in the arcuate nucleus include neuropeptide y (Npy), agouti-related peptide (Agrp), cocaine and amphetamine related transcript (Cart) and pro-opiomelanocortin (Pomc). Recent studies also indicate that VGF nerve growth factor inducible (Vgf) in the arcuate nucleus is involved in the seasonal regulation of energy balance. In situ hybridization, qPCR and RNA-sequencing studies have identified that Pomc expression across fish, avian and mammalian species, is a neuroendocrine marker that reflects seasonal energetic states. Here we highlight that long-term changes in arcuate Pomc and Vgf expression is conserved across species and may provide rheostatic regulation of seasonal energy balance.