Early-life origins of metabolic dysfunction: role of the adipocyte

Beverly Muhlhausler, Steven R. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Citations (Scopus)


More than 60% of adults in the US are classified as overweight, with most developing associated metabolic problems. It is increasingly clear that the origins of obesity and metabolic disease are early in life, yet the physiological basis for this is not well understood. We propose that perturbations to nutrient supply in utero affect adipocyte development, altering functional properties and promoting excess body fat accumulation after birth. We also propose that excessive body fat accumulation leads to leptin and insulin resistance in these individuals, rendering them more susceptible to further weight gain and metabolic deterioration. Finally, we propose that interventions that inhibit this early increase in fat deposition have the potential to interrupt the pathway to obesity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-57
Number of pages7
JournalTrends in Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 Mar 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology

Cite this