Chemerin: a multifaceted adipokine

Updated: Oct 12, 2018

A review article summarizing the role of chemerin in regulating metabolic disorders

Metabolic syndrome is a global public health problem and predisposes individuals to

obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Although the underlying mechanisms

remain to be elucidated, accumulating evidence has uncovered a critical role of

adipokines. Chemerin, encoded by the gene Rarres2, is a newly discovered adipokine

involved in inflammation, adipogenesis, angiogenesis and energy metabolism. In

humans, local and circulating levels of chemerin are positively correlated with BMI

and obesity-related biomarkers. In this review, we discuss both peripheral and central

roles of chemerin in regulating body metabolism. In general, chemerin is upregulated

in obese and diabetic animals. Previous studies by gain or loss of function show an

association of chemerin with adipogenesis, glucose homeostasis, food intake and

body weight. In the brain, the hypothalamus integrates peripheral afferent signals

including adipokines to regulate appetite and energy homeostasis. Chemerin increases

food intake in seasonal animals by acting on hypothalamic stem cells, the tanycytes. In

peripheral tissues, chemerin increases cell expansion, inflammation and angiogenesis

in adipose tissue, collectively resulting in adiposity. While chemerin signalling enhances

insulin secretion from pancreatic islets, contradictory results have been reported on

how chemerin links to obesity and insulin resistance. Given the association of chemerin

with obesity comorbidities in humans, advances in translational research targeting

chemerin are expected to mitigate metabolic disorders. Together, the exciting findings

gathered in the last decade clearly indicate a crucial multifaceted role for chemerin in

the regulation of energy balance, making it a promising candidate for urgently needed

pharmacological treatment strategies for obesity.

The expression, signalling and function of chemerin in the hypothalamus.

The multidimensional effect of chemerin on adiposity.

This review article was published online in Journal of Endocrinology on May 30, 2018. ( The article is titled  Chemerin: a multifaceted adipokine involved in metabolic disorders. This work was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China, the Chinese Academy of Sciences Pilot Project A and the State Key Laboratory of Molecular Developmental Biology.