Endocrine organs are known for synthesizing and secreting hormones. Those hormones go on to regulate bodily functions throughout the body. In the last 20-40 years, it has been established that adipose tissue does just that. The hormones released from adipose tissue are referred to as adipokines and include leptin, adiponectin, resistin and vistatin. This lecture will focus on leptin and adiponectin specifically. These adipokines influence many bodily functions including appetite, insulin sensitivity, inflammation, immunity, and fatty acid oxidation to name a few. Normally, adipose tissue, seen in lean individuals, secretes leptin in limited quantities and adiponectin more abundantly. These hormones go on and work to create a state of homeostasis. However, dysregulation of adipose tissue occurs when these hormones are produced in discordance with normal values and effects are seen in processes throughout the body. Nearly all cells in the human body have receptors for leptin and adiponectin; which have been shown in the literature to be important regulators of inflammation. Leptin tends to have pro-inflammatory actions and adiponectin tends to have anti-inflammatory actions. When adipose tissue is dysregulated leptin and adiponectin production is altered and inflammation is then affected. Adipose tissue continues to produce adipokines but the levels of adipokines have changed. Leptin production increases and adiponectin production decreases. The result is increased inflammation without a pathogen or injury that inflicted damage, which is referred to as sterile inflammation or chronic systemic inflammation. Consequences of adipose tissue dysregulation can include insulin resistance, increased inflammation, dyslipidemia, increased thrombosis, atherosclerosis, and cellular proliferation. Which in turn leads to increased risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, depression, arthritis, and cancer.
Dr Jamie Rausch, PhD, RN, is an Assistant Professor at Indiana University Fort Wayne. She graduated from Ohio State University with a PhD in nursing science in 2020 and was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Future of Nursing Scholar. She received a BSN with Cum Laude honors from Ohio University. Her research is focused on clarifying biological links between systemic inflammation and chronic diseases specifically effects of adipokines, leptin & adiponectin, which are inflammation regulators.