Adipose tissue, commonly referred to as fat tissue, is a specialized connective tissue that stores energy in the form of fat. It is found throughout the body, but is most abundant beneath the skin (subcutaneous fat) and around internal organs (visceral fat).
Adipose tissue is made up of adipocytes, which are cells that are specialized to store fat. Adipocytes contain a single large droplet of lipid (fat) that can be broken down and used for energy when needed by the body. Adipose tissue also contains other cells, such as immune cells and stem cells, that contribute to its function.
In addition to energy storage, adipose tissue has many other important functions in the body. It helps to regulate energy balance, insulin sensitivity, and lipid metabolism. Adipose tissue also produces and secretes various hormones and cytokines, including adiponectin and leptin, that play important roles in metabolism and inflammation.
Excessive accumulation of adipose tissue, especially visceral fat, is associated with an increased risk of metabolic disorders, such as insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. In contrast, low levels of adipose tissue, especially subcutaneous fat, are associated with malnutrition and wasting disorders.
Medical interventions aimed at reducing excessive adipose tissue, such as diet and exercise, can improve metabolic health and reduce the risk of metabolic disorders. Conversely, interventions aimed at increasing adipose tissue, such as in cases of malnutrition or muscle wasting, can improve overall health and well-being.