Exercise-induced adaptations to white and brown adipose tissue

Adam C Lehnig, Kristin I Stanford
Journal of Experimental Biology 2018 March 7, 221 (Pt Suppl 1)
The beneficial effects of exercise on skeletal muscle and the cardiovascular system have long been known. Recent studies have focused on investigating the effects of exercise on adipose tissue and the effects that these exercise-induced adaptations have on overall metabolic health. Examination of exercise-induced adaptations in both white adipose tissue (WAT) and brown adipose tissue (BAT) has revealed marked differences in each tissue with exercise. In WAT, there are changes to both subcutaneous WAT (scWAT) and visceral WAT (vWAT), including decreased adipocyte size and lipid content, increased expression of metabolic genes, altered secretion of adipokines and increased mitochondrial activity. Adaptations specific to scWAT include lipidomic remodeling of phospholipids and, in rodents, the beiging of scWAT. The changes to BAT are less clear: studies evaluating the effect of exercise on the BAT of humans and rodents have revealed contradictory data, making this an important area of current investigation. In this Review, we discuss the exercise-induced changes to WAT and BAT that have been reported by different studies and highlight the current questions in this field.

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