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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2003 Oct 24;310(3):927-35.

Comparative studies of resistin expression and phylogenomics in human and mouse.

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  • 1Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition, Department of Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Erratum in

  • Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2003 Dec 19;312(3):866. Eison Jonathan A [corrected to Eisen Jonathan A].


Resistin is a newly identified adipocytokine that has been proposed to be a link between obesity and type 2 diabetes based on animal studies. However, the role of resistin in the pathogenesis of insulin resistance associated with obesity in humans remains unclear. We comparatively and quantitatively studied the tissue distributions of resistin mRNA between human and mouse. The expression level of resistin mRNA in human adipose tissue is extremely low but detectable by real-time PCR and is about 1/250 of that in the mouse. Remarkably, resistin mRNA is abundant in human primary acute leukemia cells and myeloid cell lines U937 and HL60, but not in the Raw264 mouse myeloid cell line. Resistin expression in U937 cells was not affected by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or by ciglitazone, a PPARgamma ligand. Phylogenomics revealed that the human resistin gene is the ortholog of its murine counterpart and is located in a region of chromosome 19p13.3, which is syntenic to mouse chromosome 8A1. In addition to the resistin-like molecule (RELM) sequences already reported, bioinformatics analysis disclosed another RELM sequence in the vicinity of RELMbeta on human chromosome 3q13.1, but this sequence is unlikely to encode an expressed gene. Therefore, only two RELMs, resistin and RELMbeta, exist in humans, instead of the three RELMs, resistin, RELMalpha, and RELMbeta, that exist in mice. This finding provides a possible answer to the question of why only two RELMs have been cloned in humans and suggests that the RELM family is not well conserved in evolution and may function differently between species. Therefore, caution should be exercised in interpreting resistin as a link between obesity and insulin resistance in humans. The high expression of resistin in human leukemia cells suggests a hitherto unidentified biological function of resistin in leukocytes.

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