PerspectivePhysiology

Fat cell progenitors get singled out

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Science  26 Apr 2019:
Vol. 364, Issue 6438, pp. 328-329
DOI: 10.1126/science.aax2967

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Summary

Fat tissue is essential for the safe storage of excess calories and thereby plays a key role in metabolic health. By storing lipid droplets, fat cells (adipocytes) protect organs from the damaging effects of ectopic lipid accumulation (1). Understanding how to promote healthy fat expansion may therefore reveal treatments for obesity and related diseases. Such expansion depends on the formation of new adipocytes from progenitor cells within fat tissue (2). Distinct populations of adipocyte progenitor cells (APCs) have been identified, but their interrelationships and relevance to physiological and pathological fat expansion have remained poorly understood (3). On page 353 of this issue, Merrick et al. (4) identify three new classes of APCs that are regulated with obesity, one of which resides in a potential new stem cell niche for tissue regeneration and repair.

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