Obesity is characterised by an increase in the adipose deposits, resulting from an imbalance between food intake and energy expenditure. When expansion of the adipose tissue reaches its maximum limit, as in obesity, fat accumulates in non-adipose tissues such as liver, heart, muscle and pancreas, developing a toxic response known as lipotoxicity, a condition that promotes the development of insulin resistance and other metabolic complications. Thus, the lipotoxic state may contribute to the increased risk of insulin resistance, diabetes, fatty liver and cardiovascular complications associated with obesity. We are interested in studying adipose tissue, specifically how mechanisms of adipogenesis and remodelling of adipose tissue, in terms of size and function of the adipocytes, could be considered a strategy to increase the capacity for lipid storage and prevent lipotoxicity. The peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) are a family of transcription factors that regulate energy balance by promoting either energy deposition or energy dissipation. Under normal physiological conditions, PPARgamma is mainly expressed in adipose tissue and regulates diverse functions such as the development of fat cells and their capacity to store lipids. The generation of PPARgamma knockout mice, either tissue specific or isoform specific, has provided new models to study PPARgamma's role in adipose tissue differentiation and function and have highlighted the essential role of PPARgamma in adipogenesis and lipogenesis.A second strategy to prevent lipotoxicity is to increase the capacity of tissues to oxidise fatty acids. PPARgammacoactivator-1alpha is a coactivator of PPARgamma that induces the expression of genes that promote the differentiation of preadipocytes to brown adipocytes. Recently, it has been implicated in increasing the oxidation of fatty acids via increasing mitochondrial capacity and function, making this co-factor a key candidate for the treatment of lipotoxicity.
Medina-Gomez G, Gray S, Vidal-Puig A. Adipogenesis and lipotoxicity: role of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARgamma) and PPARgammacoactivator-1 (PGC1). Public Health Nutr. 2007 October Department of Clinical Biochemistry and Medicine, University of Cambridge, Box 232, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 2QR, UK.