The adipocyte is now recognized as central player in the hormonal and metabolic regulation of systemic metabolism and energy balance. The size and hence the capacity of the adipose organ for energy storage is regulated by its ability to expand via increases in the size and number of adipocytes. Remodeling of adipose tissue in which older, dysfunctional adipocytes are replaced by new, smaller and insulin sensitive adipocytes, appears to be required to maintain the 'health'and 'optimal function'of the tissue. The mechanisms that regulate the recruitment of adipose progenitors and their differentiation into adipocytes are rapidly being unraveled. BNORC investigators, through efforts that have been fostered and facilitated by the Adipocyte Core outlined herein, have made substantial contributions to our understanding of adipogenesis and the role of the adipocyte and adipose tissue in nutrient metabolism. Metabolically important tissues possess highly sensitive biochemical systems for sensing the availability of specific nutrients and changes in the hormonal environment (e.g. insulin, catecholamines) via specific signaling receptors and transcriptional regulators. Furthermore, via hormone production (e.g. leptin and adiponectin), the adipocyte sends signals to the brain about the status of energy stores, and to the brown adipose tissue, liver, muscle and bone to coordinate systemic nutrient homeostasis, regulating body composition and immune function. Additional signals originate in muscle (e.g. irisin), liver and immune cells add to the complexity of metabolic regulation that influences white adipose tissue function. Dysfunction of these metabolic and endocrine loops plays a direct role in the pathogenesis of many chronic diseases, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis and osteoporosis. Clearly, deeper understanding of the basic biology of adipocyte nutrient metabolism and hormone production, and how alterations in diet quantity and quality affect these organ networks is essential to the prevention and treatment of obesity and related diseases. The research needs of BNORC investigators have progressively expanded beyond the adipocyte per se, where the Adipocyte Core has historically focused most of its efforts. Thus, we have renamed our 'Adipocyte Core'to

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Center Core Grants (P30)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZDK1-GRB-2 (J3))
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Boston Medical Center
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