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Open Access Open Badges Original investigation

Vaspin inhibits cytokine-induced nuclear factor-kappa B activation and adhesion molecule expression via AMP-activated protein kinase activation in vascular endothelial cells

Chang Hee Jung1, Min Jung Lee1, Yu Mi Kang1, Yoo La Lee2, Hae Kyeong Yoon2, Sang-Wook Kang3, Woo Je Lee1 and Joong-Yeol Park1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Internal Medicine, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Poongnap-dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul 138-736, Korea

2 Asan Institute of Life Sciences, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea

3 Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea

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Cardiovascular Diabetology 2014, 13:41  doi:10.1186/1475-2840-13-41

Published: 12 February 2014



Vaspin is an adipocytokine that was recently identified in the visceral adipose tissue of diabetic rats and has anti-diabetic and anti-atherogenic effects. We hypothesized that vaspin prevents inflammatory cytokine-induced nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) activation by activating AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) in vascular endothelial cells.


We examined the effects of vaspin on NF-κB activation and the expression of the NF-κB-mediated genes intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1), E-selectin, and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1). Human aortic endothelial cells (HAECS) were used. Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) was used as a representative proinflammatory cytokine.


Treatment with vaspin significantly increased the phosphorylation of AMPK and acetyl-CoA carboxylase, the down-stream target of AMPK. Furthermore, treatment with vaspin significantly decreased TNFα-induced activation of NF-κB, as well as the expression of the adhesion molecules ICAM-1, VCAM-1, E-selectin, and MCP-1. These effects were abolished following transfection of AMPKα1-specific small interfering RNA. In an adhesion assay using THP-1 cells, vaspin reduced TNFα-induced adhesion of monocytes to HAECS in an AMPK-dependent manner.


Vaspin might attenuate the cytokine-induced expression of adhesion molecule genes by inhibiting NF-κB following AMPK activation.

Vaspin; Endothelial cells; AMPK; NF-κB; Adhesion molecules