Mitochondrial Hormesis links nutrient restriction to improvedm metabolism in fat cell

Daniele Lettieri Barbato, Giuseppe Tatulli, Katia Aquilano, Maria R. Ciriolo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fasting promotes longevity by reprogramming metabolic and stress resistance pathways. However, although the impact on adipose tissue physiology through hormonal inputs is well established, the direct role of fasting on adipose cells is poorly understood. Herein we show that white and beige adipocytes, as well as mouse epididymal and subcutaneous adipose depots, respond to nutrient scarcity by acquiring a brown-like phenotype. Indeed, they improve oxidative metabolism through modulating the expression of mitochondrial- and nuclear-encoded oxidative phosphorylation genes as well as mitochondrial stress defensive proteins (UCP1, SOD2). Such adaptation is placed in a canonical mitohormetic response that proceeds via mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (mtROS) production and redistribution of FoxO1 transcription factor into nucleus. Nuclear FoxO1 (nFoxO1) mediates retrograde communication by inducing the expression of mitochondrial oxidative and stress defensive genes. Collectively, our findings describe an unusual white/beige fat cell response to nutrient availability highlighting another health-promoting mechanism of fasting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)869-881
Number of pages13
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Adipose tissue
  • Aging
  • Energy metabolism
  • FoxO1
  • Longevity
  • Mitochondria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Cell Biology


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