White adipose tissue (WAT) is an important endocrine organ that regulates systemic energy metabolism. In metabolically unhealthy obesity, adipocytes become dysfunctional through hypertrophic mechanisms associated with a reduced endocrine function, reduced mitochondrial function, but increased inflammation, fibrosis, and extracellular remodelling. A pathologic WAT remodelling promotes systemic lipotoxicity characterized by fat accumulation in tissues such as muscle and liver, leading to systemic insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Several lines of evidence from human and animal studies suggest a link between unhealthy obesity and adipocyte mitochondrial dysfunction, and interventions that improve mitochondrial function may reduce the risk of obesity-associated diseases. This review discusses the importance of mitochondrial function and metabolism in human adipocyte biology and intercellular communication mechanisms within WAT. Moreover, a selected interventional approach for better adipocyte mitochondrial metabolism in humans is reviewed. A greater understanding of mitochondrial bioenergetics in WAT might provide novel therapeutic opportunities to prevent or restore dysfunctional adipose tissue in obesity-associated diseases.
- Adipose Tissue, White/metabolism
- Adipose Tissue/metabolism
- Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2/metabolism
- Energy Metabolism
- Metabolic Diseases/metabolism