Advances over the last two decades in our understanding of the adipocyte have clarified its role as a key regulator of both energy balance and intermediary metabolism. It is now known that in addition to being an insulator and energy depot, the adipocyte is a highly active cell, secreting a wealth of factors, including leptin, that play a part in CNS and appetite regulation. There is also a much greater understanding of how fat cells themselves develop from precursor cells FOXC2, pRb, PGC-1and RIP140 has been discussed as genes influencing adipocyte cell fate. By increasing the already existing pool of brown adipocyte in human adipose tissue, as a way to dissipate excess energy through uncoupling, this would help conserve ample triglyceridestorage capacity in white adipocyte and hence counteract ectopic lipid depositions in tissues like liver and muscles. Since ectopic lipid deposition is intimately connected to the development of insulin resistance and the metabolic syndrome, factors affecting white versus brown fat partitioning constitutes an interesting approach to this health problem.
28 Apr - 02 May 2007
European Society of Endocrinology