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Pharmacol Ther. 2008 Jan;117(1):188-98. Epub 2007 Oct 13.

Inter-organ metabolic communication involved in energy homeostasis: potential therapeutic targets for obesity and metabolic syndrome.

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Division of Molecular Metabolism and Diabetes, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, 2-1 Seiryo-machi, Aoba-ku, Sendai 980-8575, Japan.


The global rate of obesity is rising alarmingly, exerting a major adverse impact on human health by increasing the prevalences of disorders, such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. To maintain systemic energy homeostasis, metabolic information must be communicated among organs/tissues. Obesity-related disorders can be thought of as resulting from dysregulation of this vital inter-tissue communication. Remarkable advances in obesity research during this decade have shown humoral factors manufactured and secreted by adipose tissue (adipocytokines) to be of great importance. In addition to these humoral factors, such as nutrients (glucose, fatty acids and amino acids) and hormones (insulin, adipocytokines and so on), the functional significance of the autonomic nervous system has recently attracted research attention. Autonomic nerves are essential components of the endogenous system for maintaining energy homeostasis, making them potential therapeutic targets for obesity-related disorders. This review focuses on the therapeutic possibilities of targeting inter-organ communication systems.

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