Scientific publications

Revisiting the adipocyte: a model for integration of cytokine signaling in the regulation of energy metabolism

Oct 1, 2015 | Magazine: American Journal of Physiology. Endocrinology Metabolism

Rodríguez A (1), Ezquerro S (2), Méndez-Giménez L (1), Becerril S (1), Frühbeck G (3).


Adipose tissue constitutes an extremely active endocrine organ with a network of signaling pathways enabling the organism to adapt to a wide range of different metabolic challenges, such as starvation, stress, infection, and short periods of gross energy excess.

The functional pleiotropism of adipose tissue relies on its ability to synthesize and release a huge variety of hormones, cytokines, complement and growth factors, extracellular matrix proteins, and vasoactive factors, collectively termed adipokines.

Obesity is associated with adipose tissue dysfunction leading to the onset of several pathologies including type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia, nonalcoholic fatty liver, or hypertension, among others.

The mechanisms underlying the development of obesity and its associated comorbidities include the hypertrophy and/or hyperplasia of adipocytes, adipose tissue inflammation, impaired extracellular matrix remodeling, and fibrosis together with an altered secretion of adipokines.

Recently, the potential role of brown and beige adipose tissue in the protection against obesity has been also recognized. In contrast to white adipocytes, which store energy in the form of fat, brown and beige fat cells display energy-dissipating capacity through the promotion of triacylglycerol clearance, glucose disposal, and generation of heat for thermogenesis.

Identification of the morphological and molecular changes in white, beige, and brown adipose tissue during weight gain is of utmost relevance for the identification of pharmacological targets for the treatment of obesity and its associated metabolic diseases.

CITATION  Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2015 Oct 15;309(8):E691-714. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00297.2015. Epub 2015 Sep 1.