Semin Plast Surg 2002; 16(2): 195-198
DOI: 10.1055/s-2002-32260
Copyright © 2002 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc., 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA. Tel.: +1(212) 584-4662

Bioregulation of Adipocyte Growth and Differentiation

Harry J. Mersmann
  • USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
17 June 2002 (online)


Adipocyte growth consists of hyperplasia of preadipocytes coupled with differentiation followed by lipid filling or cell hypertrophy. Selected hormones and growth factors initiate differentiation, which is regulated by the synthesis of specific transcription factors that regulate the synthesis of mRNA and, in turn, proteins characteristic of the adipocyte. Adipocyte lipid metabolism consists of anabolic processes that include de novo fatty acid synthesis, lipoprotein lipase activity, and triacylglycerol synthesis coupled with the catabolic process of lipolysis. Increase in adipose tissue mass is primarily the result of cell hypertrophy resulting from greater anabolic than catabolic adipocyte lipid metabolic rates. These metabolic rates are regulated by endocrine factors, the most important of which are insulin and the adrenergic hormones. The caloric content of the diet can regulate adipose tissue growth, which can also be influenced by individual dietary components.