Mitochondrial homeostasis in adipose tissue remodeling

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Science Signaling  28 Feb 2017:
Vol. 10, Issue 468, eaai9248
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aai9248


Autophagy is an intracellular catabolic process of removing damaged or superfluous intracellular components. Autophagy and mitophagy, a selective form of autophagy for mitochondrial degradation, play important roles in the development and function of metabolic organs, such as adipose tissue, liver, and pancreas. This review with 4 figures, 1 table, and 107 citations discusses the molecular regulation of mitophagy, the physiological and pathological roles of autophagy in metabolic organs, and the molecular links to obesity and metabolic disorders, including insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and hepatic steatosis.


Mitochondrial homeostasis is regulated by a balance between mitochondrial biogenesis and degradation. Emerging evidence suggests that mitophagy, a selective form of autophagy that degrades mitochondria, plays a key role in the physiology and pathophysiology of mitochondria-enriched cells, such as brown and beige adipocytes. This review discusses findings regarding the roles of autophagy and mitophagy in cellular development, maintenance, and functions of metabolic organs, including adipose tissue, liver, and pancreas. A better understanding of the molecular links between mitophagy and energy metabolism will help to identify promising targets for the treatment of obesity and obesity-associated disorders.

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