The Common and Distinct Features of Brown and Beige Adipocytes

Kenji Ikeda, Pema Maretich, and Shingo Kajimura
Cell Press
Publication Date: 
Sat, 2018-01-20
1 University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Diabetes Center, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA 2 Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research, San Francisco, CA 94131, USA 3 Department of Cell and Tissue Biology, UCSF, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA
Two types of thermogenic fat cells, brown adipocytes and beige adipocytes, play a key role in the regulation of systemic energy homeostasis in mammals. Both brown fat and beige fat possess thermogenic properties in addition to common morphological and biochemical characteristics, including multilocular lipid droplets and cristae-dense mitochondria. Recent studies also identify features that are distinct between the two types of thermogenic fat cells, such as their developmental regulation and function. Of particular interest is the role of beige fat in the regulation of glucose homeostasis via uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1)-independent mechanisms. A better understanding of the underlying causes of these characteristics of brown and beige fat will allow us to specifically manipulate these cells to improve systemic energy metabolism and glucose homeostasis.