Recent Advances in Adipose mTOR Signaling and Function: Therapeutic Prospects

Huan Cai, Lily Q. Dong, Feng Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


The increasing epidemic of obesity and its comorbidities has spurred research interest in adipose biology and its regulatory functions. Recent studies have revealed that the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway has a critical role in the regulation of adipose tissue function, including adipogenesis, lipid metabolism, thermogenesis, and adipokine synthesis and/or secretion. Given the importance of mTOR signaling in controlling energy homeostasis, it is not unexpected that deregulated mTOR signaling is associated with obesity and related metabolic disorders. In this review, we highlight current advances in understanding the roles of the mTOR signaling pathway in adipose tissue. We also provide a more nuanced view of how the mTOR signaling pathway regulates adipose tissue biology and function. Finally, we describe approaches to modulate the activity and tissue-specific function of mTOR that may pave the way towards counteracting obesity and related metabolic diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-317
Number of pages15
JournalTrends in Pharmacological Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • adipogenesis
  • adipokine
  • lipid metabolism
  • the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR)
  • thermogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology


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