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Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2010 Apr;6(4):195-213. doi: 10.1038/nrendo.2010.20. Epub 2010 Mar 2.

Transplantation of adipose tissue and stem cells: role in metabolism and disease.

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Joslin Diabetes Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02215, USA.


Humans and other mammals have three main adipose tissue depots: visceral white adipose tissue, subcutaneous white adipose tissue and brown adipose tissue, each of which possesses unique cell-autonomous properties. In contrast to visceral adipose tissue, which can induce detrimental metabolic effects, subcutaneous white adipose tissue and brown adipose tissue have the potential to benefit metabolism by improving glucose homeostasis and increasing energy consumption. In addition, adipose tissue contains adipose-derived stem cells, which possess the ability to differentiate into multiple lineages, a property that might be of value for the repair or replacement of various damaged cell types. Adipose tissue transplantation has primarily been used as a tool to study physiology and for human reconstructive surgery. Transplantation of adipose tissue is, however, now being explored as a possible tool to promote the beneficial metabolic effects of subcutaneous white adipose tissue and brown adipose tissue, as well as adipose-derived stem cells. Ultimately, the clinical applicability of adipose tissue transplantation for the treatment of obesity and metabolic disorders will reside in the achievable level of safety, reliability and efficacy compared with other treatments.

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