Adipocytes play an essential role in maintaining energy homeostasis in mammals. The primary function of white adipose tissue (WAT) is to store energy; for brown adipose tissue (BAT), primary function is to release fats in the form of heat. Dysfunctional or excess WAT can induce metabolic disorders such as dyslipidemia, obesity, and diabetes. Preadipocytes or adipocytes from WAT possess sufficient plasticity as they can transdifferentiate into brown-like beige adipocytes. Studies in both humans and rodents showed that brown and beige adipocytes could improve metabolic health and protect from metabolic disorders. Brown fat requires activation via exposure to cold or β-adrenergic receptor (β-AR) agonists to protect from hypothermia. Considering the fact that the usage of β-AR agonists is still in question with their associated side effects, selective induction of WAT browning is therapeutically important instead of activating of BAT. Hence, a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms governing white adipocyte browning is vital. At the same time, it is also essential to understand the factors that define white adipocyte identity and inhibit white adipocyte browning. This literature review is a comprehensive and focused update on the epigenetic regulators crucial for differentiation and browning of white adipocytes.
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