Running Against the Wnt: How Wnt/β-Catenin Suppresses Adipogenesis.

TitleRunning Against the Wnt: How Wnt/β-Catenin Suppresses Adipogenesis.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
Authorsde Winter TJJ, Nusse R
JournalFrontiers in cell and developmental biology
Date Published2021
AbstractMesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) give rise to adipocytes, osteocytes, and chondrocytes and reside in various tissues, including bone marrow and adipose tissue. The differentiation choices of MSCs are controlled by several signaling pathways, including the Wnt/β-catenin signaling. When MSCs undergo adipogenesis, they first differentiate into preadipocytes, a proliferative adipocyte precursor cell, after which they undergo terminal differentiation into mature adipocytes. These two steps are controlled by the Wnt/β-catenin pathway, in such a way that when signaling is abrogated, the next step in adipocyte differentiation can start. This sequence suggests that the main role of Wnt/β-catenin signaling is to suppress differentiation while increasing MSC and preadipocytes cell mass. During later steps of MSC differentiation, however, active Wnt signaling can promote osteogenesis instead of keeping the MSCs undifferentiated and proliferative. The exact mechanisms behind the various functions of Wnt signaling remain elusive, although recent research has revealed that during lineage commitment of MSCs into preadipocytes, Wnt signaling is inactivated by endogenous Wnt inhibitors. In part, this process is regulated by histone-modifying enzymes, which can lead to increased or decreased Wnt gene expression. The role of Wnt in adipogenesis, as well as in osteogenesis, has implications for metabolic diseases since Wnt signaling may serve as a therapeutic target.
Short TitleFront Cell Dev Biol