Obesity has become a common healthcare problem worldwide. Cilia are tiny hair-like organelles on the cell surface that are generated and anchored by the basal body. Non-motile primary cilia have been considered to be evolutionary rudiments until a few decades, but they are now considered as important signaling organelles because many receptors, channels, and signaling molecules are highly expressed in primary cilia. A potential role of primary cilia in metabolic regulation and body weight maintenance has been suspected based on rare genetic disorders termed as ciliopathy, such as Bardet-Biedl syndrome and Alström syndrome, which manifest as obesity. Recent studies have demonstrated involvement of cilia-related cellular signaling pathways in transducing metabolic information in hypothalamic neurons and in determining cellular fate during adipose tissue development. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge about cilia and cilia-associated signaling pathways in the regulation of body metabolism.
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