Submitted to: Obesity Reviews
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/8/2000
Publication Date: 9/1/2001
Citation: Hausman, D.B., Digirolamo, M., Bartness, T.J., Hausman, G.J., Martin, R.J. The biology of white adipocyte proliferation. Obesity Reviews. Interpretive Summary: Fat cell precursors continue to divide and grow throughout development in man and animals. A host of factors influence the growth of fat cell precursors including a number of growth factors, anatomical location and the nervous system. Mature fat cells actually produce and secrete many substances that influence growth of precursor cells. This provides a mechanism whereby enlarging fat cells can stimulate the division of fat cell precursors. The relative importance of these "fat cell" substances to the overall control of fat cell development has not been established. A number of diverse and integrated studies are necessary to determine the role of the fat cell in the physiological regulation of fat deposition.
Technical Abstract: Expanded adipose cell mass is associated with many clinical conditions including diabetes, hypertension, coronary atherosclerotic heart disease, and some forms of cancer. Therefore, it is imperative that we understand the mechanisms by which fat pads expand. The enlargement of fat cells during the development of obesity has been previously hypothesized to be a triggering factor for new fat cell proliferation. There is now a preponderance of evidence that mature fat cells are sources of growth factors such as IGF-I, IGF binding proteins, TNF-alfa angiotensin II, and MCSF that are capable of stimulating proliferation. The relative importance of these different factors in the normal control of preadipocyte proliferation remains unknown. In addition, the proliferative response of preadipocytes to the paracrine milieu is undoubtedly modulated by external factors such neural inputs to fat tissue and/or serum factors. Together, these multiple regulatory controls orchestrate overall and region-specific adipose tissue cellularity responses associated with the development of hyperplastic obesity. Both in vivo and in vitro studies are needed understand the complex, inter-acting physiological mechanisms by which growth of this important organ is regulated.