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Mol Biol Cell. 2016 Aug 15;27(16):2523-7. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E15-10-0749.

Cell biology of fat storage.

Author information

1
Laboratory of Molecular Metabolism, Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10065 pcohen@rockefeller.edu bruce_spiegelman@dfci.harvard.edu.
2
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Department of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115 pcohen@rockefeller.edu bruce_spiegelman@dfci.harvard.edu.

Abstract

The worldwide epidemic of obesity and type 2 diabetes has greatly increased interest in the biology and physiology of adipose tissues. Adipose (fat) cells are specialized for the storage of energy in the form of triglycerides, but research in the last few decades has shown that fat cells also play a critical role in sensing and responding to changes in systemic energy balance. White fat cells secrete important hormone-like molecules such as leptin, adiponectin, and adipsin to influence processes such as food intake, insulin sensitivity, and insulin secretion. Brown fat, on the other hand, dissipates chemical energy in the form of heat, thereby defending against hypothermia, obesity, and diabetes. It is now appreciated that there are two distinct types of thermogenic fat cells, termed brown and beige adipocytes. In addition to these distinct properties of fat cells, adipocytes exist within adipose tissue, where they are in dynamic communication with immune cells and closely influenced by innervation and blood supply. This review is intended to serve as an introduction to adipose cell biology and to familiarize the reader with how these cell types play a role in metabolic disease and, perhaps, as targets for therapeutic development.

PMID:
27528697
PMCID:
PMC4985254
DOI:
10.1091/mbc.E15-10-0749
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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