NUCB2/nesfatin and its proteolytically cleaved product nesfatin-1 are recently discovered anorexigenic hypothalamic neuroproteins involved in energy homeostasis. It is expressed both centrally and in peripheral tissues, and appears to have potent metabolic actions. NUCB2/nesfatin neurons are activated in response to stress. Central nesfatin-1 administration elevates circulating ACTH and corticosterone levels. Bilateral adrenalectomy increased NUCB2/nesfatin mRNA levels in rat paraventricular nuclei. To date, studies have not assessed the effects of nesfatin-1 stimulation on human adrenocortical cells. Therefore, we investigated the expression and effects of nesfatin-1 in a human adrenocortical cell model (H295R). Our findings demonstrate that NUCB2 and nesfatin-1 are expressed in human adrenal gland and human adrenocortical cells (H295R). Stimulation with nesfatin-1 inhibits the growth of H295R cells and promotes apoptosis, potentially via the involvement of Bax, BCL-XL and BCL-2 genes as well as ERK1/2, p38 and JNK1/2 signalling cascades. This has implications for understanding the role of NUCB2/nesfatin in adrenal zonal development. NUCB2/nesfatin may also be a therapeutic target for adrenal cancer. However, further studies using in vivo models are needed to clarify these concepts.
- adrenal cortex