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Adipose tissue is an important site for lipid storage, energy homeostasis, and whole-body insulin sensitivity. It is important to understand the mechanisms involved in adipose tissue development and function, which can be regulated by the endocrine actions of various peptide and steroid hormones. Recent studies have revealed that white and brown adipocytes can be derived from distinct precursor cells. This review will focus on transcriptional control of adipogenesis and its regulation by several endocrine hormones. The general functions and cellular origins of adipose tissue and how the modulation of adipocyte development pertains to metabolic disease states will also be considered. © 2012 Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press; all rights reserved.

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Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology