Exercise and browning of white adipose tissue - a translational perspective


Browning of white adipose tissue is a cold-induced phenomenon in rodents, constituted by the differentiation of a subset of thermogenic adipocytes among existing white adipocytes. Emerging evidence in the literature points at additional factors and environmental conditions stimulating browning in rodents, including physical exercise training. Exercise engages sympathetic activation which during cold activation promotes proliferation and differentiation of brown preadipocytes. Exercise also stimulates the release of multiple growth factors and cytokines. Importantly, there are clear discrepancies between human and rodents with regard to thermogenic capacity and browning potential. Here we provide a translational perspective on exercise-induced browning and review recent findings on the role of myokines and hepatokines in this process.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Opinion in Pharmacology
Pages (from-to)18-24
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


  • Adipose Tissue, Brown/cytology
  • Adipose Tissue, White/cytology
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation/physiology
  • Energy Metabolism/physiology
  • Exercise/physiology
  • Humans
  • Liver/cytology
  • Muscle, Skeletal/cytology
  • Thermogenesis/physiology


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