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Horm Mol Biol Clin Investig. 2016 Apr 1;26(1):25-42. doi: 10.1515/hmbci-2015-0073.

Adipose tissue: an endocrine organ playing a role in metabolic regulation.


Adipose tissue is a complex endocrine organ with an intricate role in whole body homeostasis. Beyond storing energy, adipose tissue is fundamental in numerous processes including, but not limited to, metabolism, food intake and immune cell function. Adipokines and cytokines are the signaling factors from adipose tissue. These factors play a role in maintaining health, but are also candidates for pathologies associated with obesity. Indeed excessive adiposity causes dysregulation of these factors which negatively affect health and contribute to numerous obesity-induced co-morbidities. In particular, adipokines are fundamental in regulation of glucose homeostasis and insulin signaling, thus aberrant production of these adipose derived hormones correlates with the development and progression of type 2 diabetes. Therefore, elucidation of adipose regulation is crucial for understanding the pathophysiological basis of obesity and metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes. In the present review, we summarize current data on the relation between adipokines and adipose depot derived cytokines in the maintenance of glucose homeostasis. Specifically, physiological and molecular functions of several adipokines are defined with particular focus on interactions within the insulin-signaling pathway and subsequent regulation of glucose uptake in both standard and obesity-induced dysregulated conditions. This same relation will be discussed for cytokines and inflammation as well.

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