Developmental and functional heterogeneity of thermogenic adipose tissue

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The obesity epidemic continues to rise as a global health challenge. Thermogenic brown and beige adipocytes dissipate chemical energy as heat, providing an opportunity for developing new therapeutics for obesity and related metabolic diseases. Anatomically, brown adipose tissue is distributed as discrete depots, while beige adipocytes exist within certain depots of white adipose tissue. Developmentally, brown and beige adipocytes arise from multiple embryonic progenitor populations that are distinct and overlapping. Functionally, they respond to a plethora of stimuli to engage uncoupling protein 1-dependent and independent thermogenic programs, thus improving systemic glucose homeostasis, lipid metabolism, and the clearance of branched-chain amino acids. In this review, we highlight recent advances in our understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms that contribute to the developmental and functional heterogeneity of thermogenic adipose tissue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)775-784
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Molecular Cell Biology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s) (2020). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Journal of Molecular Cell Biology, IBCB, SIBS, CAS.


  • BAT involution
  • UCP1
  • beige adipocyte
  • brown adipose tissue
  • browning
  • lineage tracing

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review


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