A number of different cell types contribute to the cellular architecture of adipose tissue. Although the adipocyte is functionally making important contributions to systemic metabolic homeostatis, several additional cell types contribute a supportive role to bestow maximal flexibility on the tissue with respect to many biosynthetic and catabolic processes, depending on the metabolic state. These cells include vascular endothelial cells, a host of immune cells, and adipocyte precursor cells and fibroblasts. Combined, these cell types give rise to a tissue with remarkable flexibility with respect to expansion and contraction, while optimizing the ability of the tissue to act as an endocrine organ through the release of many protein factors, critically influencing systemic lipid homeostasis and biochemically contributing many metabolites. Using an example from each of these categories - adiponectin as a key adipokine, sphingolipids as critical mediators of insulin sensitivity, and uridine as an important metabolite contributed by the adipocyte to the systemic pool - I will discuss the emerging genesis of the adipocyte over the past 20 years from metabolic bystander to key driver of metabolic flexibility.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism