What is Adipose Tissue?

Adipose tissue is composed of adipocytes, or fat cells. Adipose tissue, is essentially the fat found within the body. These fat cells, adipocytes, may occur either as single, solitary cells alone a tissue, or they may be part of a much larger group of cells, or cluster of adipocytes. There is relatively little space between the cells found in adipose tissue and the space that is present, contains areolar tissue, reticular tissue, and capillaries.

Adipose tissue is necessary to the body and serves as a back up supply of energy and nutrients. This backup energy is stored in the form of triglycerides, which are constantly being produced and then stored within the adipose tissue while the older triglycerides are released and used by the body. The triglycerides found within the adipose tissue are not simply stored indefinitely; they are cycled out periodically as new triglycerides are stored.

There are two types of adipose tissues, brown adipose tissue, commonly referred to as brown fat, and white adipose tissue, commonly referred to as white fat. Brown fat is used as an energy source to produce heat. Newborns contain a great deal of brown fat when they are born in order to insulate themselves and keep themselves warm. White fat is rather sedentary, however, and serves no specific purpose aside from the storage of triglycerides. White fat typically accumulates around the abdomen, buttocks and thighs.

Typically speaking, women have higher percentages of body fat than do men. Women require more fat stores in order to sustain pregnancies as well as nourish a growing infant through breastfeeding. Women who do not maintain an adequate level of fat on the body may suffer from reduced fertility.

References
Saladin, Kenneth S.. Anatomy & physiology: the unity of form and function. 5th ed. Dubuque: McGraw-Hill, 2010. Print.

Adipose Tissue

White Fat, Brown Fat

Adipose Tissue

Published by Samantha Van Vleet

Samantha Van Vleet is a birth doula, postpartum doula, childbirth educator and third year pre-medical student. She, her husband and her three children reside in southcentral Alaska. She is actively involved...  View profile