Emerging Roles of Adipose Progenitor Cells in Tissue Development, Homeostasis, Expansion and Thermogenesis

Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2016 Aug;27(8):574-585. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2016.05.001. Epub 2016 Jun 1.


Stem or progenitor cells are an essential component for the development, homeostasis, expansion, and regeneration of many tissues. Within white adipose tissue (WAT) reside vascular-resident adipose progenitor cells (APCs) that can proliferate and differentiate into either white or beige/brite adipocytes, which may control adiposity. Recent studies have begun to show that APCs can be manipulated to control adiposity and counteract 'diabesity'. However, much remains unknown about the identity of APCs and how they may control adiposity in response to homeostatic and external cues. Here, we discuss recent advances in our understanding of adipose progenitors and cover a range of topics, including the stem cell/progenitor lineage, their niche, their developmental and adult roles, and their role in cold-induced beige/brite adipocyte formation.

Keywords: adipose tissue; beige/brite adipocytes; niche; obesity; perivascular cells; stem cells.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / cytology*
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Homeostasis / genetics
  • Homeostasis / physiology
  • Humans
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Thermogenesis / genetics
  • Thermogenesis / physiology