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Fat cells send messages to the brain

The adipocyte-secreted protein adiponectin (ADN) has anti-inflammatory and antidiabetic peripheral effects, similarly to exercise. Investigating a possible link between the effects of exercise and ADN on the brain in mice, Yau et al. showed that ADN can pass the blood–brain barrier and that running increased hippocampal ADN levels. Peripheral or central ADN administration reduced depression-like behaviour and promoted hippocampal cell proliferation. Running had the same effects, but not in mice lacking ADN. In vitro, the proliferation-promoting effect of ADN was mediated by ADN receptor 1. These data indicate that ADN mediates the neurogenesis-promoting and antidepressant effects of exercise.


  1. Yau, S. Y. et al. Physical exercise-induced hippocampal neurogenesis and antidepressant effects are mediated by the adipocyte hormone adiponectin. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 111, 15810–15815 (2014)

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Welberg, L. Fat cells send messages to the brain. Nat Rev Neurosci 15, 769 (2014).

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