AMPK(5'-AMP activated protein kinase) monitors energy level of cells. AMPK is activated when starved or during exercise to meet the needs of cells by hindering syntheses of fat and glycogen and simultaneously by accelerating lipolysis of stored fats [see the following diagram]. This enzyme also is known to mediate the physiological cues of leptin and adiponectin, which are secreted from fat tissues. Adioponectin level in blood of obese people has been reported to be low compared with that of the leans, and the former often suffers insulin resistance, implying that AMPK plays an important role in glucose metabolism.

AMPK 활성화가 각 장기이 에너지 대사에 미치는 영향
Effect of AMPK activation on the energy metabolism of organs

When AICAR, a synthetic AMPK stimulator, was administered to obese animals for a long term, insulin resistance, hyperglycemia, and hyperlipidemia of the animals were improved. Since targeting AMPK resulted in improvement of metabolic syndrome, multi-national drug companies as well as universities all over the world pour endeavors to find compounds stimulating AMPK activity.

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