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Brown adipose tissue: development, metabolism and beyond.

Authors
  • Schulz, Tim J
  • Tseng, Yu-Hua
Type
Published Article
Journal
Biochemical Journal
Publisher
Portland Press
Publication Date
Jul 15, 2013
Volume
453
Issue
2
Pages
167–178
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1042/BJ20130457
PMID: 23805974
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Obesity represents a major risk factor for the development of several of our most common medical conditions, including Type 2 diabetes, dyslipidaemia, non-alcoholic fatty liver, cardiovascular disease and even some cancers. Although increased fat mass is the main feature of obesity, not all fat depots are created equal. Adipocytes found in white adipose tissue contain a single large lipid droplet and play well-known roles in energy storage. By contrast, brown adipose tissue is specialized for thermogenic energy expenditure. Owing to its significant capacity to dissipate energy and regulate triacylglycerol (triglyceride) and glucose metabolism, and its demonstrated presence in adult humans, brown fat could be a potential target for the treatment of obesity and metabolic syndrome. Undoubtedly, fundamental knowledge about the formation of brown fat and regulation of its activity is imperatively needed to make such therapeutics possible. In the present review, we integrate the recent advancements on the regulation of brown fat formation and activity by developmental and hormonal signals in relation to its metabolic function.

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