COE Study Abroad Project Report


Meeting report on the participation of Keystone symposia(U.S.A.)

Kentaro Morita, Doctoral course student

1) Purpose
There has been an alarming increase in obesity and its associated disorders (most notably type 2 diabetes) throughout industrialized countries. I am investigating molecular mechanisms of obesity-related metabolic syndrome including diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemias, hypertension, and atherosclerosis. The goal of participation in Keystone symposia is to meet and discuss together with scientists working several intersecting areas of the field, e.g., the application of new technologies to diabetes; stem cell and developmental biology; regulated membrane trafficking; integration of metabolism and gene expression; and therapeutics.

2) Schedule
January 27, Kansai International Airport (Japan) ? San Francisco International Airport (USA)
January 27, San Francisco International Airport (USA) - Denver International Airport (USA)
January 27-February 2, Keystone symposia Obesity: Molecular Physiology and Genetics of Control of Body Weight (J4) (January 29, Poster presentation)
February 2-3, Denver International Airport (USA) - San Francisco International Airport (USA) - Kansai International Airport (Japan)

3) Meeting report
We presented our data entitled gVisfatin; a new adipocytokine secreted from accumulated visceral fath
Recent advance in obesity research revealed two major findings. One is that the adipose tissue is an endocrine organ, producing various adipocytokines, including leptin, adiponectin, TNF-alpha, resistin and PAI-1. The second major finding is that accumulation of abdominal visceral fat is more likely to be accompanied by metabolic diseases than that of subcutaneous fat. We searched for a new adipocytokine from cDNA of human visceral fat. Using differential display method, we compared a total of 8,800 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) products from cDNAs of two paired samples of subcutaneous fat and visceral fat. And one clone, which we named visfatin, showed a visceral fat-specific pattern on the differential display images. Plasma visfatin levels increased during development of obesity, accompanied by increased mRNA expression of visfatin in visceral fat in human and mice. Surprisingly, visfatin exerted insulin-mimetic effects in various cells and lowered plasma glucose levels in mice. Heterozygous visfatin knockout mice had higher plasma glucose levels. Visfatin directly bound to insulin receptor in a manner different from insulin. Visfatin may be a key-regulatory factor involved in the pathogenesis of metabolic syndrome.
[Result of the meeting]
Many scientists were very interested in our data, probably because visfatin was a novel adipocytokine. They asked a lot of questions and we discussed long time with them. As a result, we received many useful comments and suggestions. Discussing with many top scientists, new ideas occurred to us.
We also saw many interesting and the newest data submitted by investigators who are leading the fields of diabetes and adipogenesis.
4) Perspective
I would like to research hard in order to present new data in the next Keystone Symposia, and then I would like to struggle to speak in English more.
Finally, I really appreciate the COE financial support for our attending this meeting.