Over the past two decades our view of adipose tissue has undergone a dramatic change from an inert energy storage tissue to an active endocrine organ. Adipose tissue communicates with other central and peripheral organs by synthesis and secretion of a host of molecules that we generally refer to as adipokines. The levels of some adipokines correlate with specific metabolic states and have the potential to impact directly upon the metabolic homeostasis of the system. A dysregulation of adipokines has been implicated in obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and an ever-growing larger list of pathological changes in a number of organs. Here, we review the recent progress regarding the synthesis, secretion, and physiological function of adipokines with perspectives on future directions and potential therapeutic goals.
© 2010 New York Academy of Sciences.