Obesity: Gene Ecscr is New Target for Treatment of Metabolic Syndrome

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Koji Ikeda, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Cardiology
Graduate School of Medical Science,
Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine
Kyoto, Japan

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? 

Dr. Ikeda: The main findings of this study is the identification of a novel mechanism that regulates glucose homeostasis and energy metabolism, provided by Ecscr. Consequently, Ecscr modifies the insulin sensitivity and the progression of obesity, indicating that Ecscr is a new target for the treatment of metabolic syndrome.

MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected? 

Dr. Ikeda: Honestly, these findings were really unexpected to us. We are working on the research of angiogenesis in the Department of CV med.  Therefore, we were not so much interested in the research of metabolism. Luckily, we happened to find that Ecscr, a gene that we ourselves previously identified and since then we have been working on, is highly expressed in adipose tissues. This finding urged us to investigate a possible role of Ecscr on fat metabolism, and we found the unexpected role of Ecscr in the glucose homeostasis and energy metabolism.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Ikeda: Our paper also revealed an importance of fat angiogenesis in the maintenance of fat functions. Enhancing fat angiogenesis protect fat from hypoxia, and thus, prevent the inflammation of the white fat and help to keep burning fat in the brown fat.

Ecscr is a unique pharmacotherapeutic target to modify the fat angiogenesis, and therefore, to treat and/or prevent the obesity and metabolic syndrome.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Ikeda: Considering a result of this study, Ecscr inhibitor may be a new drug to prevent and/or treat obesity and metabolic syndrome.

We have already begun the research to isolate small compounds that inhibit the Ecscr functions. Hopefully, we could find several seed or lead compounds of Ecscr inhibitor, and develop a new drug to fight against obesity and metabolic syndrome.


Ecscr regulates insulin sensitivity and predisposition to obesity by modulating endothelial cell functions

Yoshiki Akakabe, Masahiro Koide, Youhei Kitamura, Kiyonari Matsuo, Tomomi Ueyama, Satoaki Matoba, Hiroyuki Yamada, Keishi Miyata, Yuichi Oike  Koji Ikeda

Nature Communications 4
Article number: 2389 doi:10.1038/ncomms3389