Inducing brown adipocytes in white adipose tissues is a promising target to combat obesity and its related disorders in human beings. This goal has been especially encouraged by new important discoveries of human brown adipose tissues. The accumulating evidence confirms the presence of active brown adipocytes, not only in newborns, but also in adult humans. In rodents, there are two populations of the Ucp1-expressing adipocytes with well characterized-thermogenic functions, classical interscapular brown adipocytes and brite/beige adipocytes (brown adipocytes that are induced in white adipose tissues). Importantly, the anatomical localization, gene expression profiling and functional characterization of Ucp1-expressing fat cells indicates brite and brown adipocytes coexist in human beings. Therefore, the research directions of brown and brite adipogenesis provide lead to potential new therapies to fight obesity and its related metabolic diseases in human being. The objectives of this review are (1) to discuss the fate of primary adipocytes based on tissue origins, and (2) to discuss mechanisms of brown and brite adipogenesis which could lead to their different responses to browning reagents.
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