Obesity is dramatically increasing virtually worldwide, which has been linked to the rising prevalence of metabolic
syndrome. Excess fat accumulation causes severe alterations in adipose tissue function. Actually, adipose tissue is
now recognized as a major endocrine and secretory organ that releases a wide variety of signaling molecules (hormones,
growth factors, cytokines, chemokines, etc.), the adipokines, which play central roles in the regulation of energy metabolism
and homeostasis, immunity and inflammation. In addition, adipose tissue is no longer regarded as a passive lipid
storage site but as a highly dynamic energy depot which stores excess energy during periods of positive energy balance
and mobilizes it in periods of nutrient deficiency in a tightly regulated manner. Altered lipid release and adipokine production
and signaling, as occurs in obesity, are linked to insulin resistance and the associated comorbidities of metabolic
syndrome (dyslipidemia, hypertension), which confer an increased risk for the development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular
disease. Here we summarize current knowledge on adipose tissue and review the contribution of novel techniques
and experimental approaches in adipobiology to the identification of novel biomarkers and potential targets for dietary
or pharmacological intervention to prevent and treat adipose tissue-associated diseases.
Keywords: Adipose tissue, adipocytes, adipokines, adipoproteomics, diet, lipid metabolism, metabolic syndrome, obesity.
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