Metabolic diseases, in particular obesity, are characterized by a dysregulation in energy balance. Energy balance is governed in part by white adipose tissue (WAT) and brown adipose tissue (BAT). BAT is of particular interest due to its role in uncoupling cellular oxidative phosphorylation from adenosine triphosphate (ATP) mproduction, which elevates energy expenditure dissipated in the form of heat (thermogenesis). Therapies to increase BAT activity in humans could be used to combat obesity and other metabolic disorders of energy imbalance. Through the identification of human embryonic stem cells (hESC)and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) with BAT characteristics, human embryonic progenitor cells (hEP) were generated and showed the potential to generate adipose tissue in vitro. This opens up a promising area of research for deriving stem cells for drug design and other therapeutic applications, as well as offering an approach to treat a wide variety of metabolic conditions.
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