Mechanisms linking endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and microRNAs to adipose tissue dysfunction in obesity

Kalhara R. Menikdiwela, João Pedro Tôrres Guimarães, Latha Ramalingam, Nishan S. Kalupahana, Jannette M. Dufour, Rachel L. Washburn, Naima Moustaid-Moussa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Over accumulation of lipids in adipose tissue disrupts metabolic homeostasis by affecting cellular processes. Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress is one such process affected by obesity. Biochemical and physiological alterations in adipose tissue due to obesity interfere with adipose ER functions causing ER stress. This is in line with increased irregularities in other cellular processes such as inflammation and autophagy, affecting overall metabolic integrity within adipocytes. Additionally, microRNAs (miRNAs), which can post-transcriptionally regulate genes, are differentially modulated in obesity. A better understanding and identification of such miRNAs could be used as novel therapeutic targets to fight against diseases. In this review, we discuss ways in which ER stress participates as a common molecular process in the pathogenesis of obesity-associated metabolic disorders. Moreover, our review discusses detailed underlying mechanisms through which ER stress and miRNAs contribute to metabolic alteration in adipose tissue in obesity. Hence, identifying mechanistic involvement of miRNAs-ER stress cross-talk in regulating adipose function during obesity could be used as a potential therapeutic approach to combat chronic diseases, including obesity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-481
Number of pages27
JournalCritical Reviews in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • adipose tissue
  • autophagy
  • ER stress
  • inflammation
  • microRNA
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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