Adipose tissue morphology and release of free fatty acids, as well as peptide hormones, are believed to contribute to obesity and related metabolic disorders. These adipose tissue phenotypes are influenced by adiposity, but there is also a strong hereditary impact. Polymorphisms in numerous adipose-expressed genes have been evaluated for association with adipocyte and clinical phenotypes. In our opinion, some results are convincing. Thus ADRB2 and GPR74 genes are associated with adipocyte lipolysis, GPR74 also with BMI; PPARG and SREBP1, which promote adipogenesis and lipid storage, are associated with T2D and possible adiposity; ADIPOQ and ARL15 are associated with circulating levels of adiponectin, ARL15 also with coronary heart disease. We anticipate that the use of complementary approaches such as expression profiling and RNAi screening, and studies of additional levels of gene regulation, that is, miRNA and epigenetics, will be important to unravel the genetics of adipose tissue function.
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