open access

Vol 74, No 5 (2023)
Review paper
Submitted: 2023-04-30
Accepted: 2023-07-14
Published online: 2023-10-09
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Adipose tissue as a cause of endocrine dysfunction

Alina Ewa Kuryłowicz12
Pubmed: 37902012
Endokrynol Pol 2023;74(5):468-479.
  1. Department of Human Epigenetics, Mossakowski Medical Research Centre PAS, Warsaw, Poland
  2. Department of General Medicine and Geriatric Cardiology, Medical Centre of Postgraduate Education Warsaw, Poland

open access

Vol 74, No 5 (2023)
Review Article
Submitted: 2023-04-30
Accepted: 2023-07-14
Published online: 2023-10-09


Adipose tissue is a large hormonally active organ that secretes several substances (adipokines), and an important site for the synthesis and metabolism of steroid hormones. With energy balance, the secretory and metabolic activity of adipose tissue determines the normal function of many organs, including the endocrine glands. However, in the course of overweight and obesity, adverse changes occur in the structure and function of adipocytes. Obesity-related adipose tissue dysfunction translates into a change in the profile of secreted adipokines, and it impairs steroidogenesis. These phenomena contribute to the development of obesity-related complications, which also affect the major tropic axes regulating the endocrine glands. However, there is increasing evidence that weight reduction is an effective treatment for obesity-related adipose tissue dysfunction, thereby restoring endocrine function.

This narrative review presents the impact of adipose tissue on endocrine gland activity both in the physiological state and in obesity-related dysfunction. It also discusses how functional (related to excess adiposity) changes in the endocrine system can be restored with effective treatment of obesity.


Adipose tissue is a large hormonally active organ that secretes several substances (adipokines), and an important site for the synthesis and metabolism of steroid hormones. With energy balance, the secretory and metabolic activity of adipose tissue determines the normal function of many organs, including the endocrine glands. However, in the course of overweight and obesity, adverse changes occur in the structure and function of adipocytes. Obesity-related adipose tissue dysfunction translates into a change in the profile of secreted adipokines, and it impairs steroidogenesis. These phenomena contribute to the development of obesity-related complications, which also affect the major tropic axes regulating the endocrine glands. However, there is increasing evidence that weight reduction is an effective treatment for obesity-related adipose tissue dysfunction, thereby restoring endocrine function.

This narrative review presents the impact of adipose tissue on endocrine gland activity both in the physiological state and in obesity-related dysfunction. It also discusses how functional (related to excess adiposity) changes in the endocrine system can be restored with effective treatment of obesity.

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adipose tissue; adipokines; hormonal homeostasis; obesity; adipose tissue dysfunction; lifestyle interventions; glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonists (GLP-1RAs); bariatric surgery

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Adipose tissue as a cause of endocrine dysfunction


Endokrynologia Polska


Vol 74, No 5 (2023)

Article type

Review paper



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Endokrynol Pol 2023;74(5):468-479.


adipose tissue
hormonal homeostasis
adipose tissue dysfunction
lifestyle interventions
glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonists (GLP-1RAs)
bariatric surgery


Alina Ewa Kuryłowicz

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