As a part of a series of seminars, Dasman Diabetes institute has held a talk titled “Interaction of osteopontin with interleukin-18 in obese individuals: implications for insulin resistance” presented by Dr. Rasheed Ahmad, senior scientist/Head of Immunology and Innovative Cell Therapy Unit at Dasman Diabetes Institute. The talk took place on Thursday, 4th July 2013.

Osteopontin and interleukin-18 (IL-18) are inflammatory mediators that are known to participate in a wide range of biological processes linked to immunological disorders. Increasing evidence shows that circulating levels of both inflammatory mediators are elevated in obese individuals. However, it is still unclear whether both inflammatory mediators are simultaneously increased in obesity, and whether the two mediators interact with each other.

In the current issue of PLOS ONE, Dr. Ahmad and his colleagues show for the first time that the levels of both osteopontin and IL-18 are simultaneously increased in plasma, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and adipose tissue of overweight and obese individuals. The two inflammatory mediators were also found to correlate with each other and with fasting blood glucose and body mass index (BMI) in these individuals, which may trigger the development of insulin resistance. In addition, this study provides direct evidence that IL-18 regulates osteopontin production in PBMCs. In view of the above results, the interaction between the two inflammatory mediators may serve as a potential disease marker for monitoring insulin resistance severity and therapeutic efficacy. Importantly, obese individuals with a combined osteopontin/IL-18 elevation may be at greater risk for developing insulin resistance as compared with non-obese subjects.