Although adipose tissue serves a crucial function in energy storage, excess adipose tissue - that is, obesity - is often associated with diabetes and cardiovascular disease. A common thread in the weave of complications is increased plasma concentrations of fatty acids. In the present review, we have focused on two specific points that relate to obesity: (i) What are the metabolic consequences of increased free fatty acid concentrations? and (ii) What are the physiological factors that are involved in the regulation of fatty acid uptake or release from adipose tissue? We have tried to emphasize new factors that act as hormones on adipose tissue and in so doing regulate the net concentration of circulating free fatty acids. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V.
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