Endocrine Abstracts (2004) 7 S1

Adipose tissue as an endocrine organ

J Flier

Deaconess Medical Centre, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.

The biological role of adipose tissue has been evolving over recent years. Initially viewed predominantly as a site for storage of excess energy, to be released when needed under the regulation of endocrine and neural inputs, the adipose cell should now be viewed as well as a bone fide endocrine gland. Secreted products include major regulators of energybalance, insulin sensitivity, the vascular system, neuroendocrine function, and inflammatory pathways.

Leptin is a critical adipose-derived hormone, and several features of its action and inaction will be reviewed. The status of leptin resistance as a common aspect of obesity will be assessed, with particular attention to the role of SOCS3.

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