Adipose-Derived Exosomes as Possible Players in the Development of Insulin Resistance

Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Jul 11;22(14):7427. doi: 10.3390/ijms22147427.


Adipose tissue (AT) is an endocrine organ involved in the management of energy metabolism via secretion of adipokines, hormones, and recently described secretory microvesicles, i.e., exosomes. Exosomes are rich in possible biologically active factors such as proteins, lipids, and RNA. The secretory function of adipose tissue is affected by pathological processes. One of the most important of these is obesity, which triggers adipose tissue inflammation and adversely affects the release of beneficial adipokines. Both processes may lead to further AT dysfunction, contributing to changes in whole-body metabolism and, subsequently, to insulin resistance. According to recent data, changes within the production, release, and content of exosomes produced by AT may be essential to understand the role of adipose tissue in the development of metabolic disorders. In this review, we summarize actual knowledge about the possible role of AT-derived exosomes in the development of insulin resistance, highlighting methodological challenges and potential gains resulting from exosome studies.

Keywords: adipokines; adipose tissue; exosomes; insulin resistance; metabolic disorders; type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / pathology*
  • Animals
  • Exosomes / pathology*
  • Glucose Intolerance / etiology
  • Glucose Intolerance / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance*