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J Endocrinol. 2003 Jun;177(3):351-5.

Tumour necrosis factor alpha: a key regulator of adipose tissue mass.

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  • Department of Neuroendocrinology, Division of Neuroscience and Psychological Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, Hammersmith Hospital Campus, Du Cane Road, London W12 0NN, UK. james.warne@imperial.ac.uk


In addition to its established role in the immune system, tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha) exerts complex regulatory actions on adipose tissue. TNFalpha is produced in and secreted by the adipocyte and thus is in a position to exert a paracrine and/or autocrine role within adipose tissue. TNFalpha affects many aspects of adipocyte function, from adipocyte development to lipid metabolism. Bringing together all of these diverse actions, TNFalpha appears to play a general role in reducing adipose tissue mass. Dysregulation of TNFalpha production and/or action could be one facet in the development of cachexia and obesity, as well as associated metabolic disorders such as insulin resistance.

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