The formation of adipocytes during embryogenesis has been largely understudied.
However, preadipocytes appear to originate from multipotent mesenchymal stromal/stem cells which
migrate from the mesoderm to their anatomical localization. Most studies on adipocyte formation
(adipogenesis) have used preadipocytes derived from adult stem/stromal cells. Adipogenesis consists
of two phases, namely commitment and terminal di erentiation. This review discusses the role of
signalling pathways, epigenetic modifiers, and transcription factors in preadipocyte commitment and
di erentiation into mature adipocytes, as well as limitations in our understanding of these processes.
To date, a limited number of transcription factors, genes and signalling pathways have been described
to regulate preadipocyte commitment. One reason could be that most studies on adipogenesis
have used preadipocytes already committed to the adipogenic lineage, which are therefore not
suitable for studying preadipocyte commitment. Conversely, over a dozen molecular players
including transcription factors, genes, signalling pathways, epigenetic regulators, and microRNAs
have been described to be involved in the di erentiation of preadipocytes to adipocytes; however,
only peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma has proven to be clinically relevant. Adetailed
understanding of how the molecular players underpinning adipogenesis relate to adipose tissue
function could provide new therapeutic approaches for addressing obesity without compromising
adipose tissue function.