Hindsight: Endothelial Cell Specific Molecule-1 and Obesity

In 2006, we published a paper in Homone and Metabolic Research, in which we reported on endothelial-cell specific molecule-1 (ESM-1), a molecule which inhibits leukocyte adhesion and migration through the endothelium and also happens to be secreted by fat cells.

In this study we looked at ESM-1 expression and regulation in subcutaneous abdominal adipose tissue samples from 70 postmenopausal women.

In cell culture studies we found that mature adipocytes produced more ESM-1 than preadipocytes. We also found that insulin and cortisol inhibited adipocyte ESM-1 production. This inhibitory effect of insulin was attenuated by insulin resistance, as ESM-1 gene expression in subcutaneous adipose tissue was increased in obese, hyperinsulinemic women.

On the other hand, modest 5% weight loss in 14 women did not markedly change gene expression. Circulating ESM-1 levels increased significantly, albeit modestly.

Thus, we confirmed that ESM-1 is actively produced by adipocytes but that circulating ESM-1 levels are reduced in the overweight and obese, consistent with the notion that ESM-1 may play some role in obesity-associated vascular disease.

This clearly did not turn out to be a hotbed of adipocyte research – according to Google Scholar, this paper has only been cited 13 times.

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