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International Journal of Endocrinology
Volume 2016, Article ID 9542061, 10 pages
Review Article

Biology of Beige Adipocyte and Possible Therapy for Type 2 Diabetes and Obesity

1Center of Biomedical Research (CIBUS), Universidad de La Sabana, Chia, Colombia
2Fundacion Cardioinfantil IC, Bogota, Colombia

Received 17 April 2016; Revised 12 June 2016; Accepted 26 June 2016

Academic Editor: Kazuhiro Shiizaki

Copyright © 2016 Fernando Lizcano and Diana Vargas. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


All mammals own two main forms of fat. The classical white adipose tissue builds up energy in the form of triglycerides and is useful for preventing fatigue during periods of low caloric intake and the brown adipose tissue instead of inducing fat accumulation can produce energy as heat. Since adult humans possess significant amounts of active brown fat depots and their mass inversely correlates with adiposity, brown fat might play an important role in human obesity and energy homeostasis. New evidence suggests two types of thermogenic adipocytes with distinct developmental and anatomical features: classical brown adipocytes and beige adipocytes. Beige adipocyte has recently attracted special interest because of its ability to dissipate energy and the possible ability to differentiate itself from white adipocytes. Importantly, adult human brown adipocyte appears to be mainly composed of beige-like adipocytes, making this cell type an attractive therapeutic target for obesity and obesity-related diseases. Because many epigenetic changes can affect beige adipocyte differentiation, the knowledge of the circumstances that affect the development of beige adipocyte cells may be important for therapeutic strategies. In this review we discuss some recent observations arising from the great physiological capacity of these cells and their possible role as ways to treat obesity and diabetes mellitus type 2.