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© 2015 the American Physiological Society. Adipose tissue has the largest capacity to store energy in the body and provides energy through the release of free fatty acids during times of energy need. Different types of immune cells are recruited to adipose tissue under various physiological conditions, indicating that these cells contribute to the regulation of adipose tissue. One major pathway influenced by a number of immune cells is the release of free fatty acids through lipolysis during both physiological (e.g., cold stress) and pathophysiological processes (e.g., obesity, type 2 diabetes). Adipose tissue expansion during obesity leads to immune cell infiltration and adipose tissue remodeling, a homeostatic process that promotes inflammation in adipose tissue. The release of proinflammatory cytokines stimulates lipolysis and causes insulin resistance, leading to adipose tissue dysfunction and systemic disruptions of metabolism. This review focuses on the interactions of cytokines and other inflammatory molecules that regulate adipose tissue lipolysis during physiological and pathophysiological states.

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American Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism

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