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The different shades of fat

Abstract

Our understanding of adipose tissue biology has progressed rapidly since the turn of the century. White adipose tissue has emerged as a key determinant of healthy metabolism and metabolic dysfunction. This realization is paralleled only by the confirmation that adult humans have heat-dissipating brown adipose tissue, an important contributor to energy balance and a possible therapeutic target for the treatment of metabolic disease. We propose that the development of successful strategies to target brown and white adipose tissues will depend on investigations that elucidate their developmental origins and cell-type-specific functional regulators.

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Figure 1: Origins of white, beige and brown adipocytes.
Figure 2: Factors regulating white, and brown or beige adipogenesis.
Figure 3: Regulation of lipolysis and thermogenesis in adipocytes by the sympathetic nervous system.
Figure 4: Assessment of rodent brown and beige adipocyte markers in human adipose tissue.

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Acknowledgements

We apologize to those whose work was not directly cited because of space constraints. The authors are supported by FP7 BetaBAT, BBSRC, BHF and MRC programme grants, Wellcome Trust, and Cambridge Overseas Trust.

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Correspondence to Vivian Peirce or Antonio Vidal-Puig.

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Peirce, V., Carobbio, S. & Vidal-Puig, A. The different shades of fat. Nature 510, 76–83 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature13477

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