Crosstalk Between Adipose and Lymphatics in Health and Disease

Gregory P Westcott and Evan D Rosen

Adipose tissue, once thought to be an inert receptacle for energy storage, is now recognized as a complex tissue with multiple resident cell populations that actively collaborate in response to diverse local and systemic metabolic, thermal, and inflammatory signals. A key participant in adipose tissue homeostasis that has only recently captured broad scientific attention is the lymphatic vasculature. The lymphatic system’s role in lipid trafficking and mediating inflammation makes it a natural partner in regulating adipose tissue, and evidence supporting a bidirectional relationship between lymphatics and adipose tissue has accumulated in recent years. Obesity is now understood to impair lymphatic function, whereas altered lymphatic function results in aberrant adipose tissue deposition, though the molecular mechanisms governing these phenomena have yet to be fully elucidated. We will review our current understanding of the relationship between adipose tissue and the lymphatic system here, focusing on known mechanisms of lymphatic-adipose crosstalk.

Endocrinology. 2022 Jan 1;163(1):bqab224. doi: 10.1210/endocr/bqab224.