Several lines of evidence from rodents document the plasticity of thermogenic adipocytes, i.e. the ability of adipocytes to modulate their functional properties and switch on or off their thermogenic program in response to different physiological and pathophysiological conditions.
In the review Plasticity of Thermogenic Adipocytes we discuss controversial topics such as whether brown-like adipocytes are a separate cell type, and whether only a subpopulation of white adipocytes are able to convert to brown-like adipocytes. ATLAS researchers are currently using a combination of state-of-the-art lineage-tracing models and single-cell sequencing technologies to uncover the moleuclar mechanisms of adipose tissue plasticity and how this controls health and disease.
Fluorescence microscopy image of white adipocytes from gonadal tissue (red colour: surface of adipocytes, blue color: cell nuclei)