Emerging role of bone morphogenetic proteins in adipogenesis and energy metabolism

Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. Oct-Dec 2009;20(5-6):523-31. doi: 10.1016/j.cytogfr.2009.10.019. Epub 2009 Nov 6.


Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) regulate many processes in embryonic development as well as in the maintenance of normal tissue function later in adult life. However, the role of this family of proteins in formation of adipose tissue has been underappreciated in the field of developmental biology. With the growing epidemic of obesity, improved knowledge of adipocyte development and function is urgently needed. Recently, there have been significant advances in understanding the role of different members of the BMP superfamily in control of adipocyte differentiation and systemic energy homeostasis. This review summarizes recent progress in understanding how BMPs specify adipose cell fate in stem/progenitor cells and their potential role in energy metabolism. We propose that BMPs provide instructive signals for adipose cell fate determination and regulate adipocyte function. These findings have opened up exciting opportunities for developing new therapeutic approaches for the treatment of obesity and its many associated metabolic disorders.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adipogenesis / genetics*
  • Adipogenesis / physiology
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Adipose Tissue / physiology
  • Animals
  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein Receptors / metabolism
  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein Receptors / physiology
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins / genetics
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins / physiology*
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Energy Metabolism / genetics*
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological


  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins
  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein Receptors