The physiological and pathophysiological roles of taurine in adipose tissue in relation to obesity

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Obesity is caused by an imbalance between energy intake and energy expenditure. It is established that obesity is a state of low-grade chronic inflammation, which is characterized by enlarged hypertrophied adipocytes, increased infiltration by macrophages and marked changes in the secretion of adipokines and free fatty acids. The effects of taurine on the pathogenesis of obesity have been reported in animals and humans. Although the mechanisms underlying the anti-obesity action of taurine remain to be defined, taurine seems to ameliorate obesity through stimulation of energy expenditure, modulation of lipid metabolism, anorexic effect, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects. Recent studies revealed that taurine supplementation reduces the infiltration of macrophages and modulates the polarization of adipose tissue macrophages in high-fat diet-induced obese mice. In addition, taurine downregulates the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines by adipocytes, suggesting that taurine plays an anti-inflammatory role in adipose tissue. This article reviews the effects and mechanisms of taurine on the development of obesity, focusing on the role of taurine in white adipose tissue.

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