White Adipose Tissue Browning: A Double-edged Sword

Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2016 Aug;27(8):542-552. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2016.06.006. Epub 2016 Jul 5.


The study of white adipose tissue (WAT) 'browning' has become a 'hot topic' in various acute and chronic metabolic conditions, based on the idea that WAT browning might be able to facilitate weight loss and improve metabolic health. However, this view cannot be translated into all areas of medicine. Recent studies identified effects of browning associated with adverse outcomes, and as more studies are being conducted, a very different picture has emerged about WAT browning and its detrimental effect in acute and chronic hypermetabolic conditions. Therefore, the notion that browning is supposedly beneficial may be inadequate. In this review we analyze how and why browning in chronic hypermetabolic associated diseases can be detrimental and lead to adverse outcomes.

Keywords: ER stress; burns; cancer; hypermetabolism; uncoupling protein 1; white adipose tissue.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / metabolism*
  • Adipose Tissue, White / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress / genetics
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress / physiology
  • Humans
  • Thermogenesis / genetics
  • Thermogenesis / physiology
  • Uncoupling Protein 1 / genetics
  • Uncoupling Protein 1 / metabolism


  • Uncoupling Protein 1