Cellular Origins of Beige Fat Cells Revisited.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Activated beige adipocytes have therapeutic potential due to their ability to improve glucose and lipid homeostasis. To date, the origin of beige adipocytes remains enigmatic. Whether beige cells arise through de novo differentiation from resident precursors or through reprogramming of mature white adipocytes has been a topic of intense discussion. Here, we offer our perspective on the natural origin of beige adipocytes in mice. In particular, we revisit recent lineage-tracing studies that shed light on this issue and offer new insight into how environmental housing temperatures early in life influence the mode of beige adipocyte biogenesis upon cold exposure later in life. We suggest a unified model in which beige adipocytes (UCP1+ multilocular cells) in rodents initially arise predominantly from progenitors (i.e., de novo beige adipogenesis) upon the first exposure to cold temperatures and then interconvert between "dormant beige" and "active beige" phenotypes (i.e., beige cell activation) upon subsequent changes in environmental temperature. Importantly, we highlight experimental considerations needed to visualize de novo adipogenesis versus beige cell activation in mice. A precise understanding of the cellular origins of beige adipocytes emanating in response to physiological and pharmacological stimuli may better inform therapeutic strategies to recruit beige adipocytes in vivo.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Shao, M; Wang, QA; Song, A; Vishvanath, L; Busbuso, NC; Scherer, PE; Gupta, RK

Published Date

  • October 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 68 / 10

Start / End Page

  • 1874 - 1885

PubMed ID

  • 31540940

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC6754244

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1939-327X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.2337/db19-0308


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States