Primary cilia are hair-like structures that protrude from the cell surface. They are capable of sensing external cues and conveying a vast array of signals into cells to regulate a variety of physiological activities. Mutations in cilium-associated genes are linked to a group of diseases with overlapping clinical manifestations, collectively known as ciliopathies. A significant proportion of human ciliopathy cases are accompanied by metabolic disorders such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. Nevertheless, the mechanisms through which dysfunction of primary cilia contributes to obesity are complex. In this article, we present an overview of primary cilia and highlight obesity-related ciliopathies. We also discuss the potential role of primary cilia in peripheral organs, with a focus on adipose tissues. In addition, we emphasize the significance of primary cilia in the central regulation of obesity, especially the involvement of ciliary signaling in the hypothalamic control of feeding behavior. This article therefore proposes a framework of both peripheral and central regulation of obesity by primary cilia, which may benefit further exploration of the ciliary role in metabolic regulation.
Keywords: Adipogenesis; Adipose tissue; Ciliopathy; Hypothalamus; Metabolism.
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