Human White Adipose Tissue Metabolome: Current Perspective

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2018 Dec;26(12):1870-1878. doi: 10.1002/oby.22336. Epub 2018 Oct 28.


Objective: Interest in metabolites produced by adipose tissue has increased substantially in the past several decades. Previously regarded as an inert energy storage depot, adipose tissue is now viewed as a complex metabolically active organ with considerable impact on human health. The emerging field of mass spectrometry-based metabolomics presents a powerful tool for the study of processes in complex biological matrices including adipose tissue.

Results: A large number of structurally distinct metabolites can be analyzed to facilitate the investigation of differences between physiological and pathophysiological metabolic profiles associated with adipose tissue. Understanding the molecular basis of adipose tissue regulation can thereby provide insight into the monitoring of obesity-related metabolic disorders and lead to the development of novel diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers.

Conclusions: This review provides the current state of knowledge, recent progress, and critical evaluation of metabolomics approaches in the context of white adipose tissue and obesity. An overview of basic principles and resources describing individual groups of metabolites analyzed in white adipose tissue and biological fluids is given. The focus is on metabolites that can serve as reliable biomarkers indicative of metabolic alterations associated with obesity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue, White / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metabolome / genetics*
  • Obesity / metabolism*