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Liping Luo and Meilian Liu

Adipose tissue plays a central role in regulating whole-body energy and glucose homeostasis through its subtle functions at both organ and systemic levels. On one hand, adipose tissue stores energy in the form of lipid and controls the lipid mobilization and distribution in the body. On the other hand, adipose tissue acts as an endocrine organ and produces numerous bioactive factors such as adipokines that communicate with other organs and modulate a range of metabolic pathways. Moreover, brown and beige adipose tissue burn lipid by dissipating energy in the form of heat to maintain euthermia, and have been considered as a new way to counteract obesity. Therefore, adipose tissue dysfunction plays a prominent role in the development of obesity and its related disorders such as insulin resistance, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression and cancer. In this review, we will summarize the recent findings of adipose tissue in the control of metabolism, focusing on its endocrine and thermogenic function.