MicroRNA functions in brite/brown fat - novel perspectives towards anti-obesity strategies

Michael Karbiener, Marcel Scheideler*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Current anti-obesity strategies are aiming at restricting energy uptake, but still, obesity treatment is far from being satisfactory. The discovery of active brown adipose tissue (BAT) in adult humans currently opens new avenues to combat obesity and follow-up complications as it tackles the other site of the energy balance: energy expenditure via non-shivering thermogenesis. This process of energy dissipation in the adipose tissue is tightly controlled, and the elucidation of its regulatory network is a key plank for therapeutic applications. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) belong to a novel class of regulatory determinants which are small non-coding RNAs with vital roles in regulating gene expression that also play a role in many human diseases. In this review we summarize miRNAs which have been shown to govern thermogenic, i.e. brite or brown, adipocyte recruitment and physiology. Notably, most miRNAs in this context have so far been characterized solely in mice, revealing a great demand for more human studies. As in the context of other diseases, RNA-based therapeutics have meanwhile entered clinical trials, further exploring the functions of miRNAs in brown and white adipose tissues could result in novel therapeutic approaches to treat obesity and its follow-up complications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-105
JournalComputational and Structural Biotechnology Journal
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Fields of Expertise

  • Human- & Biotechnology

Treatment code (Nähere Zuordnung)

  • Review

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