Background: Metabolic homeostasis is achieved by proper functioning of a complex endocrine milieu,
comprising of signals arising from the brain and peripheral tissues. Our knowledge of the factors regulating such
balance is rapidly evolving, as new signaling molecules are being characterized. Of central interest is nesfatin-1,
owing to its multifunctional tissue specific actions regulating food intake, body weight, blood glucose and cardiac
Method: This review discusses the tissue/system wide distribution and actions of nesfatin-1 in regulating metabolic
and cardiovascular functions in healthy conditions and diseases.
Results: Nesfatin-1 is an 82 amino acid peptide encoded in the secreted precursor, nucleobinin-2 (NUCB2). It was
first reported as a novel anorexigen and a fat reducing orphan ligand. Research to date has established nesfatin-1
in the regulation of food intake via modulation of neuropeptides in the feeding centers of brain. Nesfatin-1 expression
was also reported to have a spectrum of peripheral tissue specific actions, which includes insulin secretion
(pancreas), fat and glucose modulation (adipocyte), gastric motility and gastric acid secretion (stomach),
hormone secretion and transit time (intestine) and mean arterial pressure and cardiac injury (heart). Abnormal
levels of nesfatin-1 in circulation and/or variations in tissue specific expression have been observed in obesity,
diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Conclusion: The multifunctional biological actions of nesfatin-1 propelled this peptide as a therapeutic target,
and as a potential biomarker of diseases. However, a better and comprehensive understanding of tissue specific
effects of nesfatin-1 is critical prior to exploring its possible use in the detection and treatment of diseases.