An update on the secretory functions of brown, white, and beige adipose tissue: Towards therapeutic applications

Zeinab Ghesmati, Mohsen Rashid, Shabnam Fayezi, Frank Gieseler, Effat Alizadeh*, Masoud Darabi*

*Corresponding author for this work
1 Citation (Scopus)


Adipose tissue, including white adipose tissue (WAT), brown adipose tissue (BAT), and beige adipose tissue, is vital in modulating whole-body energy metabolism. While WAT primarily stores energy, BAT dissipates energy as heat for thermoregulation. Beige adipose tissue is a hybrid form of adipose tissue that shares characteristics with WAT and BAT. Dysregulation of adipose tissue metabolism is linked to various disorders, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and infertility. Both brown and beige adipocytes secrete multiple molecules, such as batokines, packaged in extracellular vesicles or as soluble signaling molecules that play autocrine, paracrine, and endocrine roles. A greater understanding of the adipocyte secretome is essential for identifying novel molecular targets in treating metabolic disorders. Additionally, microRNAs show crucial roles in regulating adipose tissue differentiation and function, highlighting their potential as biomarkers for metabolic disorders. The browning of WAT has emerged as a promising therapeutic approach in treating obesity and associated metabolic disorders. Many browning agents have been identified, and nanotechnology-based drug delivery systems have been developed to enhance their efficacy. This review scrutinizes the characteristics of and differences between white, brown, and beige adipose tissues, the molecular mechanisms involved in the development of the adipocytes, the significant roles of batokines, and regulatory microRNAs active in different adipose tissues. Finally, the potential of WAT browning in treating obesity and atherosclerosis, the relationship of BAT with cancer and fertility disorders, and the crosstalk between adipose tissue with circadian system and circadian disorders are also investigated.

Original languageEnglish
JournalReviews in Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023

Cite this