Dictionary > Adipocyte

Adipocyte

Definition
noun, plural: adipocytes
A specialized connective tissue cell that stores fat (lipid); the predominant cell in the adipose tissues
Supplement
In animals, the connective tissue is one of the major types of tissues and its main functions are to provide structural support and to connect tissues and organs. The cellular elements of the connective tissues are adipocytes, fibroblasts, and blood cells (such as macrophages, mast cells, etc.).
The adipocytes are specialized type of connective tissue cells in the adipose tissue. They comprise the bulk of the adipose tissues. Other cells (collectively called stromal vascular fraction) are present in relatively fewer number. In general, the adipocytes are bloated with globules of triglycerides. The nucleus is displaced to one side and the cytoplasm is seen as a thin line around the fat droplet.
The main function of adipocytes is to store fat. Apart from serving as a source of energy in the form of fat, the adipose tissue is also important in providing cushion, thermal insulation of vital organs, lubrication (chiefly in the pericardium), and hormones (such as leptin). There are two major types of adipose tissues: (1) white adipose tissue and (2) brown adipose tissue.
The white adipose tissue is comprised of white fat cells. These adipoctytes are monovacuolar. The cell has a large lipid droplet in its cytoplasm and a flattened nucleus at the periphery. The fat molecules contained in these adipocytes are primarily triglycerides and cholesteryl ester.
The brown adipose tissue has a darker colour. Its main function is to generate body heat. The brown fat cells are plurivacuolar. The adipocyte in this tissue contains several smaller droplets, with round nucleus that is eccentrically located, and more mitochondria (which accounts for the brownish color). The brown adipose tissue has more capillaries than white adipose tissue has.
Synonym(s):

  • fat cell
  • lipocyte

See also:

  • adipose tissue


  • You will also like...

    Pollution in Freshwater Ecosystems
    Pollution in Freshwater Ecosystems

    There are many environmental factors that arise due to the usage of water in one way or another and for every action tha..

    Origins of Life on Earth
    Origins of Life on Earth

    Earth was created around 4.5 billion years ago and life began not long after. Primitive life likely possessed the elemen..

    The process of photosynthesis
    Photosynthesis – Photolysis and Carbon Fixation

    Photosynthesis is the process that plants undertake to create organic materials from carbon dioxide and water, with the ..

    Types and Causes of Brain Damage
    Types and Causes of Brain Damage

    This tutorial describes the different types and causes of brain damage. Find out how genetics, physical injury, lack of ..

    New Zealand Fauna
    New Zealand’s Unique Fauna

    Meet some of New Zealand's unique fauna, including endemic insects, frogs, reptiles, birds, and mammals, and investigate..

    Freshwater lake ecosystem
    Freshwater Producers and Consumers

    Freshwater ecosystem is comprised of four major constituents, namely elements and compounds, plants, consumers, and deco..

    Related Articles...

    No related articles found

    See all Related Topics