Milestones in Molecular Mechanisms of Adipogenesis and Adipose Tissue Plasticity

Olga P. Shatova, Anastasia A. Zabolotneva, Mikhail B. Potievskiy, Aleksandr V. Shestopalov, Sergei A. Roumiantsev

International Journal of Biomedicine. 2021;11(3):323-332.
DOI: 10.21103/Article11(3)_RA3
Originally published September 9, 2021


This review focuses on the problem of adipogenesis mechanisms and the biological role of adipose tissue (AT) in the human body. Over the past decades, various types of adipocytes have been identified and characterized—white, brown, beige, yellow, and pink. An important feature of AT is a high plasticity and the ability to transdifferentiate and de-differentiate into another cell type. In this case, the pathway of transformation mostly depends on adipocytes’ cellular and metabolic microenvironment. The mechanisms of adipogenesis and the ways of its regulation remain not fully understood. The principal role in the terminal differentiation of preadipocytes is assigned to PPARγ and receptors activated by bone morphogenetic proteins, insulin, and cortisol. However, in chronic inflammation, adipogenesis is suppressed and old adipocytes increase the production of proinflammatory cytokines, which leads to the death of inflamed cells and hypertrophy of neighboring adipocytes. Thus, disruption of adipogenesis, premature aging of white adipocytes, perturbations in the metabolic and cellular microenvironment of preadipocytes, and early apoptosis of fat cells cause the development of insulin resistance and metabolically unhealthy obesity.

adipose tissue • adipocytes • adipogenesis • transdifferentiation
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Received July 4, 2021.
Accepted August 25, 2021.
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