Obesity is widely recognized as a major public health problem due to its strong association with a number of serious chronic diseases including hyperlipidemia, hypertension, type II diabetes and coronary atherosclerotic heart disease. During the development of obesity, the positive energy balance involves recruitment of new adipocytes from preadipocytes in adipose tissue, which have proliferated and differentiated. Given that cells in adipose tissues are physiologically exposed to compound mechanical loading: tensile, compressive and shear strains/stresses, which are caused by bodyweight loads as well as by weight-bearing, it is important to determine whether the adipose conversion process is influenced by mechanical stimulations. In this article we provide a comprehensive review of the experimental studies addressing mechanotransduction in adipocytes, as well as of mathematical and computational models that are useful for studying mechanotransduction in adipocytes or for quantifying the responsiveness of adipocytes to different types of mechanical loading. The new understanding that adipogenesis is influenced by mechanical stimulations has the potential to open new and important research paths, driven by mechanotransduction, to explore mechanisms as well as treatment approaches in obesity and related conditions.
- Cell mechanics