Adipokines: a review of biological and analytical principles and an update in dogs, cats, and horses

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In addition to its role as an energy storage depot, adipose tissue is now recognized as a complex endocrine organ. Adipose tissue releases a variety of factors, termed adipokines, that regulate energy metabolism, cardiovascular function, reproductive status, and immune function. Some of the better-studied adipokines include leptin, adiponectin, and components of the renin-angiotensin system such as angiotensinogen. The function of more recently discovered adipokines such as resistin are under intense scrutiny. Abnormal production or regulation of adipokines occurs in obese individuals and is implicated in the development of a variety of associated co-morbidities including metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, heart disease, and cancer in people, although evaluation in domestic species is just beginning. Adipokines are now being examined as potential biomarkers for risk assessment for development of complications related to obesity. This article summarizes the function and regulation of some better-characterized adipokines. It also reviews the current information on the characterization of adipokines in some domestic species in which rates of obesity and obesity-related disorders are increasing, such as the dog, cat, and horse.

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