Dichotomous roles of leptin and adiponectin as enforcers against lipotoxicity during feast and famine

Roger H Unger, Philipp E Scherer, William L Holland

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Science is marked by the death of dogmas; the discovery that adipocytes are more than just lipid-storing cells but rather produce potent hormones is one such example that caught physiologists by surprise and reshaped our views of metabolism. While we once considered the adipocyte as a passive storage organ for efficient storage of long-term energy reserves in the form of triglyceride, we now appreciate the general idea (once a radical one) that adipocytes are sophisticated enough to have potent endocrine functions. Over the past two decades, the discoveries of these adipose-derived factors (" adipokines") and their mech-anistic actions have left us marveling at and struggling to understand the role these factors serve in physiology and the pathophysiology of obesity and diabetes. These hormones may serve an integral role in protecting nonadipose tissues from lipid-induced damage during nutrient-deprived or replete states. As such, adipocytes deliver not only potentially cytotoxic free fatty acids but, along with these lipids, antilipotoxic adipokines such as leptin, adiponectin, and fibroblast growth factor 21 that potently eliminate excessive local accumulation of these lipids or their conversion to unfavorable sphingolipid intermediates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3011-3015
Number of pages5
JournalMolecular biology of the cell
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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