Autophagy in adipose tissue. Academic Article uri icon


  • The possible involvement of the evolutionarily conserved process of autophagy (self eating) in the pathogenesis of human diseases has been increasingly appreciated in recent years. However, at present, many fundamental questions remain to be answered before autophagy can be considered as a therapeutic target: The biological consequences of activating or inhibiting the process are very much cell type-specific and overall biological context-dependent. Consequently, the same manipulation can yield opposing effects, such as enhanced cell survival versus cellular death, or augmented versus attenuated cellular stress responses. In this brief perspective editorial, we highlight the current knowledge on the role of autophagy in adipose tissue (AT). We first address the putative role of autophagy in AT development, and then discuss how AT autophagy is altered in obesity as well as the possible causes for such alteration. Next, we raise outstanding questions on the role altered AT autophagy might play in the context of obesity, and the potential to manipulate adipose autophagy for therapeutic purposes.

publication date

  • October 1, 2012