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The production of new adipocytes is required to maintain adipose tissue mass and involves the proliferation and differentiation of adipocyte precursor cells (APCs). In this review, we outline new developments in understanding the phenotype of APCs and provide evidence suggesting that APCs differ between distinct adipose tissue depots and are affected by obesity. Post-mitotic mature adipocytes regulate systemic lipid homeostasis by storing and releasing free fatty acids, and also modulate energy balance via the secretion of adipokines. The review highlights recent advances in understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating adipocyte metabolism, with a particular focus on lipolysis regulation and the involvement of microribonucleic acids (miRNAs).
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