Indexed on: 20 Aug '14Published on: 20 Aug '14Published in: Biochimica et biophysica acta
Adipose tissue should not be considered a simple fat sink but a specialized system that promptly and dynamically responds to variations of nutrients, to fulfil its major role in whole-body energy homeostasis. Perturbation of energy storage and utilization, as well as the expansion of adipose tissue during ageing, are hallmarks of several inflammation-related metabolic disorders. Studies using model organisms have provided significant insight into the genetic factors and environmental conditions that influence adipose tissue function and cause the failure of its homeostasis. It is now clear that reduced caloric intake has a major impact on adipose tissue function and can provide a path towards better health and the avoidance of age-related chronic diseases. An intricate and evolutionary conserved signalling network is necessary to manage adipocyte response to nutrients. The transcription factor FoxO1 plays a leading role in integrating dietary conditions, insulin signalling and the down-stream response of adipocytes to maintain metabolic balance. Here we review recent insights on the novel role of FoxO1 in regulating lipid catabolism through the induction of adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL) and lysosomal lipase (Lipa) in adipocytes during nutrient restriction. In particular, we highlight the nutrient-sensing and hormone-independent feature of FoxO1 activity and illustrate how, by potentiating lipid breakdown, the FoxO1 signalling cascade could induce pro-longevity adaptive responses in adipose tissue.