Wnt Fans the Flames in Obesity

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Science  23 Jul 2010:
Vol. 329, Issue 5990, pp. 397-398
DOI: 10.1126/science.1193404

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Obesity is linked to major adverse health outcomes such as insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes (1). The mechanisms underlying insulin resistance in this state are multiple and complex, including the recruitment of immune cells, particularly macrophages, to adipose tissue. This results in chronic, low grade inflammation that is causally associated with insulin resistance. With obesity, adipose tissue mass expands and adipocyte (fat cell) size increases. Collectively, adipocytes constitute the body's largest endocrine organ, producing an array of peptide hormones called adipokines (2). On page 454 of this issue, Ouchi et al. (3) report that a protein secreted by adipocytes acts as an anti-inflammatory adipokine, restraining the chronic inflammatory state and consequently improving insulin sensitivity.