Regulatory microRNAs in Brown, Brite and White Adipose Tissue

Seley Gharanei, Kiran Shabir, James E. Brown, Martin O. Weickert, Thomas M. Barber, Ioannis Kyrou, Harpal S. Randeva*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) constitute a class of short noncoding RNAs which regulate gene expression by targeting messenger RNA, inducing translational repression and messenger RNA degradation. This regulation of gene expression by miRNAs in adipose tissue (AT) can impact on the regulation of metabolism and energy homeostasis, particularly considering the different types of adipocytes which exist in mammals, i.e., white adipocytes (white AT; WAT), brown adipocytes (brown AT; BAT), and inducible brown adipocytes in WAT (beige or brite or brown-in-white adipocytes). Indeed, an increasing number of miRNAs has been identified to regulate key signaling pathways of adipogenesis in BAT, brite AT, and WAT by acting on transcription factors that promote or inhibit adipocyte differentiation. For example, MiR-328, MiR-378, MiR-30b/c, MiR-455, MiR-32, and MiR-193b-365 activate brown adipogenesis, whereas MiR-34a, MiR-133, MiR-155, and MiR-27b are brown adipogenesis inhibitors. Given that WAT mainly stores energy as lipids, whilst BAT mainly dissipates energy as heat, clarifying the effects of miRNAs in different types of AT has recently attracted significant research interest, aiming to also develop novel miRNA-based therapies against obesity, diabetes, and other obesity-related diseases. Therefore, this review presents an up-to-date comprehensive overview of the role of key regulatory miRNAs in BAT, brite AT, and WAT.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2489
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access
article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution
(CC BY) license (


  • BAT
  • WAT
  • adipocytes
  • adipose tissue
  • beige
  • brite
  • diabetes
  • energy homeostasis
  • metabolism
  • micro-RNA
  • obesity


Dive into the research topics of 'Regulatory microRNAs in Brown, Brite and White Adipose Tissue'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this