Adipsin meets beta cells
The long-standing mystery of how adipsin regulates metabolism has been solved by a Harvard-led team that has shown the enzyme can increase insulin secretion by generating the peptide complement 3a . 1 Its therapeutic potential may hinge on showing that the effect persists with chronic dosing and does not trigger inflammationor other unwanted side effects.
The team is now planning to test recombinant adipsin in long-term safety and efficacy studies in mouse models of diabetes.
The study was led by Bruce Spiegelman, whose research group identified adipsin as one of the first adipokines-adipose tissue-secreted cytokines-in 1987.2 Adipsin was subsequently shown to have the same enzymatic activity as a previously discovered protein called complement factor D (CFD). CFD and adipsin were later shown to be the same protein, a rate-limiting enzyme in the alternative complement activation pathway.3-5
Spiegelman is a professor of cell biology and medicine at Harvard Medical School and cofounder and chair of the scientific advisory board at diabetes and obesity company Ember Therapeutics Inc. The company, which focuses on brown fat biology, has not licensed the adipsin findings.