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Adropin could help prevent obesity- and diabetes-related cardiovascular diseases 

Rockville, Md. (September 20, 2022)—New research identifies the importance of the protein adropin in preventing stiffness in the arteries of people with obesity and type 2 diabetes. The study is published ahead of print in the American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology. 

Arterial stiffness is a condition associated with aging and insulin resistance, a chronic condition associated with obesity, and is a major contributor in the development of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke.  

Adropin, a protein produced by the liver and other tissues, is involved in maintaining energy balance in the body and the metabolism of fat and sugar. Previous studies have suggested that adropin also plays a role in regulating cardiovascular health. People with chronic conditions such as obesity and type 2 diabetes have been found to have lower levels of adropin in the bloodstream. 

Researchers reported decreased expression of adropin in the liver was associated with both an elevated body mass index and hemoglobin A1c, a marker of glycemic control, in patients undergoing bariatric surgery. In a separate group, people with type 2 diabetes had lower adropin levels and increased arterial stiffness when compared to healthy controls.  

In addition, the researchers studied arteries isolated from mice that were lacking adropin. They reported that “loss of adropin alone causes an increase in arterial stiffness, mimicking the effects of obesity and type 2 diabetes.” The researchers later used adropin to treat arterial stiffening in a mouse model of obesity and type 2 diabetes and found that “adropin exposure reduces obesity and type 2 diabetes-associated arterial stiffening.” 

These findings suggest that people with low adropin levels are more likely to develop arterial stiffening and, therefore, greater consideration should be given to adropin as a potential therapeutic target in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease in people with obesity and type 2 diabetes.  

Read the full article, “Role of adropin in arterial stiffening associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes,” published ahead of print in the American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: To schedule an interview with a member of the research team, please contact APS Media Relations or call 301.634.7314. Find more research highlights in our Newsroom

Physiology is a broad area of scientific inquiry that focuses on how molecules, cells, tissues and organs function in health and disease. The American Physiological Society connects a global, multidisciplinary community of more than 10,000 biomedical scientists and educators as part of its mission to advance scientific discovery, understand life and improve health. The Society drives collaboration and spotlights scientific discoveries through its 16 scholarly journals and programming that support researchers and educators in their work. 

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