Insulin resistance and impaired adipogenesis

Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2015 Apr;26(4):193-200. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2015.01.006. Epub 2015 Feb 18.


The adipose tissue is crucial in regulating insulin sensitivity and risk for diabetes through its lipid storage capacity and thermogenic and endocrine functions. Subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) stores excess lipids through expansion of adipocytes (hypertrophic obesity) and/or recruitment of new precursor cells (hyperplastic obesity). Hypertrophic obesity in humans, a characteristic of genetic predisposition for diabetes, is associated with abdominal obesity, ectopic fat accumulation, and the metabolic syndrome (MS), while the ability to recruit new adipocytes prevents this. We review the regulation of adipogenesis, its relation to SAT expandability and the risks of ectopic fat accumulation, and insulin resistance. The actions of GLUT4 in SAT, including a novel family of lipids enhancing insulin sensitivity/secretion, and the function of bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) in white and beige/brown adipogenesis in humans are highlighted.

Keywords: BMP4; Gremlin1; adipogenesis; insulin resistance; obesity; type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipogenesis*
  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / immunology
  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / metabolism
  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / pathology
  • Adiposity
  • Animals
  • Down-Regulation*
  • Glucose Transporter Type 4 / genetics
  • Glucose Transporter Type 4 / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Metabolic Syndrome / genetics
  • Metabolic Syndrome / immunology
  • Metabolic Syndrome / metabolism*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / pathology
  • Models, Biological*
  • Organ Specificity
  • Subcutaneous Fat, Abdominal / immunology
  • Subcutaneous Fat, Abdominal / metabolism*
  • Subcutaneous Fat, Abdominal / pathology


  • Glucose Transporter Type 4
  • SLC2A4 protein, human

Supplementary concepts

  • Abdominal obesity metabolic syndrome