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Endocr Res. 2011;36(4):158-66. doi: 10.3109/07435800.2011.580442.

Human obesity reduces the number of hepatic leptin receptor (ob-R) expressing NK cells.

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1
Institute for Functional and Applied Anatomy, Hanover Medical School, Hanover, Germany.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

In the industrialized world, obesity is an increasing socioeconomic health problem. Obese subjects have a higher risk of developing several types of cancer. NK cells are an integral component of the innate immune system, able to destruct tumor cells. The adipokine leptin plays a crucial role in the development of obesity and its related diseases. Peripheral leptin signaling is modulated by the liver.

METHODS:

The aim of this study was to evaluate the number of hepatic NK cells (CD56+) and the number of leptin-receptor positive (Ob-R+) cells in the livers of five normal-weight and five obese humans. Livers were removed during autopsy and accurately defined sections were stained immunohistochemically and CD56+, Ob-R+, and double-positive cells were quantified.

RESULTS:

Results revealed a dramatic reduction of NK cells and Ob-R-expressing NK cells in the livers of obese individuals.

CONCLUSIONS:

The present study demonstrates, for the first time, body-weight-dependent numbers of hepatic NK cells. This supports the hypothesis of obesity-associated alterations of immune cell numbers in different human organs.

PMID:
21973235
DOI:
10.3109/07435800.2011.580442
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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