Physiology and pathophysiology of adipose tissue

In mammalian physiology, adipose tissue has many important roles, including in energy storage, metabolism, lactation and non-shivering thermogenesis. Distinct types and depots of this dynamic endocrine organ exist in different regions of the body, such as lipid-storing white adipose tissue, or heat-generating brown adipose tissue. The functions of adipose tissue are complex, and disruption of physiological processes in this tissue can contribute to pathophysiological states, including obesity and metabolic dysfunction, and noncommunicable chronic diseases (NCDs), such as type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease. Highly prevalent in modern society, these conditions are a major global public health issue. The aim of this Article Series is to collate content from Nature Reviews Endocrinology on the physiology and pathophysiology of adipose tissue, and provide a useful resource for basic, translational and clinical researchers working in this field. Adipose tissue is crucial in health and disease; understanding its role in the body is critical for the development of effective strategies to target NCDs and improve human health.

A cartoon of white adipocytes and thermogenic adipocytes.



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