Structure and Functions of Adipose Tissue
Adipose Tissue is a loose fibrous connective
tissue that is packed with many fat cells (called "adipocytes"):
1.0 Where in the body is adipose tissue
Adipose tissue forms a thick layer under the skin,
around the kidneys
and in the buttocks.
More generally, it is found at the same locations throughout
the body as areolar connective
Specific examples of the locations of adipose tissue include:
- Subcutaneous layer deep to skin
- Around the heart
- Around the kidneys
- Yellow marrow of the long bones
- Padding around the joints
- Inside the eye-socket, posterior to the eyeball.
2.0 The Structure of adipose tissue
Adipose Tissue is a loose fibrous
connective tissue packed with many cells (called "adipocytes")
that are specialized for storage of triglycerides more
commonly referred to as "fats".
Each adipocyte cell is filled with
a single large droplet of triglyceride (fat). As
this occupies most of the volume of the cell, its cytoplasm, nucleus,
and other components are pushed towards the edges
of the cell - which is bounded by the plasma
membrane (also known as the "cell
Above: Diagram of Adipose Tissue
Definition of an Adipocyte:
"An adipocyte is an animal cell whose particular
function is the storage of triglyerides (fats). As the
triglyceride is stored in a large central area of the
cytoplasm of adipocytes, their nuclei are peripherally
Examples are simple representations of adipocytes are
shown in the diagram above.
3.0 The Functions of adipose tissue
- Adipose tissue acts as an insulating layer,
helping to reduce heat loss through the skin.
- It also has a protective function,
providing mechanical protection ("padding")
and support around some of the major
organs, e.g. kidneys.
- Adipose tissue is also a means of energy
Food that is excess to requirements is converted into
fat and stored within adipose tissue in the body.