University of Oulu

Kaisanlahti, A. & Glumoff, T. J Physiol Biochem (2018).

Browning of white fat : agents and implications for beige adipose tissue to type 2 diabetes

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Author: Kaisanlahti, A.1; Glumoff, T.2
Organizations: 1Biocenter Oulu/Cancer Research and Translational Medicine Research Unit, University of Oulu, Aapistie 5, P.O. Box 5281, 90014 Oulu, Finland
2Faculty of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, University of Oulu, Aapistie 7A, P.O Box 5400, 90014 Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2019
Publish Date: 2019-02-20


Mammalian adipose tissue is traditionally categorized into white and brown relating to their function and morphology: while white serves as an energy storage, brown adipose tissue acts as the heat generator maintaining the core body temperature. The most recently identified type of fat, beige adipocyte tissue, resembles brown fat by morphology and function but is developmentally more related to white. The synthesis of beige fat, so-called browning of white fat, has developed into a topical issue in diabetes and metabolism research. This is due to its favorable effect on whole-body energy metabolism and the fact that it can be recruited during adult life. Indeed, brown and beige adipose tissues have been demonstrated to play a role in glucose homeostasis, insulin sensitivity, and lipid metabolism—all factors related to pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes. Many agents capable of initiating browning have been identified so far and tested widely in humans and animal models including in vitro and in vivo experiments. Interestingly, several agents demonstrated to have browning activity are in fact secreted as adipokines from brown and beige fat tissue, suggesting a physiological relevance both in beige adipocyte recruitment processes and in maintenance of metabolic homeostasis. The newest findings on agents driving beige fat recruitment, their mechanisms, and implications on type 2 diabetes are discussed in this review.

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Series: Journal of physiology and biochemistry
ISSN: 1138-7548
ISSN-E: 1877-8755
ISSN-L: 1138-7548
Volume: 75
Issue: 1
Pages: 1 - 10
DOI: 10.1007/s13105-018-0658-5
Type of Publication: A2 Review article in a scientific journal
Field of Science: 1182 Biochemistry, cell and molecular biology
Funding: Open access funding provided by University of Oulu including Oulu University Hospital.
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2018. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.