White adipose tissue

When one speaks of fat, it primarily means adipose tissue, which belongs to the connective tissue and can appear in various parts of the body. Three different forms of adipose tissue are known. These include white, beige and brown adipose tissue. The most common is the white adipose tissue. The functions include the storage of reserves, the insulation as protection against rapid heat loss and the padding as mechanical protection against pressure loads such as on the soles of the feet or on the buttocks. In addition, the fat tissue plays an important role in energy metabolism.

The amount of fat stored depends on the diet, muscles, gender and age. The average amount of depot fat is 15 kg for men of normal weight and 15 to 20 kg for women.

Beige and brown adipose tissue

The brown adipose tissue can generate heat from the stored fat. This process is called thermogenesis. While the percentage is low in adult humans, this fat plays an important role in infants and animals who hibernate. The beige adipose tissue was only classified as a separate tissue in 2012. The exact function has so far been considered insufficiently understood. However, it is believed that it also participates in heat production and is activated by certain hormones or external influences such as cold. Beige and brown adipose tissue are currently of great interest in research against obesity. (vb)

(Photo 1: staras /

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