Adipocytes have extraordinary capacities and functions that promote homeostasis. The different adipocytes, such as white adipose tissue (WAT) and brown adipose tissue (BAT), possess multiple functions that enable metabolic mechanisms, provide thermogenic protection and boost insulin sensitivity. However, BAT’s complex composition, lipidic content combined with a high mitochondrial concentration, and low endoplasmic reticulum mass significantly impact metabolic processes.
Adipose content comprises 20% to 28% of most healthy individuals; this amount can vary depending on the gender of the patient. For instance, women’s average body fat range is between 20- 32%, while men’s healthy fat mass percentage ranges from 8-20%. Nevertheless, these numbers vary with the patient’s activity, age, and even race. Therefore these factors should be considered when assessing body fat mass.
Also, the distribution of this body fat has its contributions in terms of functionality. For example, subcutaneous adipose tissue comprises the highest portion of fatty content in the body and is located under the skin, and it characterizes for having a white color. On the other hand, visceral adipose tissue serves as an organ protectant and surrounds the living organs, such as kidneys, gonads, the intestines, and the heart.
Adipose tissue is critical for structure; this is mainly due to its function as connective tissue.
Indeed, visceral fat enables constant support within the small intestine’s convolutions, allowing a somewhat sturdy position. Another essential adipose function is the energetic storage as well as a metabolism and inflammation modulator. Furthermore, the metabolic function of this tissue extends to several systems, as it modulates immune factors, reproductive and steroid metabolism.
Adipocyte’s cellular composition and structure enable the different functions. Indeed, the different cell types found in adipose tissue are adipocytes, preadipocytes, fibroblasts, macrophages, monocytes, vascular, stromal cells, and innervation cells. Furthermore, depending on the tissue’s cellular composition, it can be characterized under these types:
White adipose tissue:
White adipose tissue or WAT characterizes by having low vascularization and innervation. Also, WAT is uniocular, which means it only has one vacuole that stores all the lipid content, mostly triglycerides (99%).
WAT’s role is focused on storing energy but also has the potential to modulate inflammatory processes. Indeed, WAT generates adipokines that serve like hormones carrying messages throughout the body.
Brown adipose tissue:
Brown adipose tissue owes its coloration to the high concentration of mitochondrial cytochromes and vascularization. Furthermore, BAT has multiple lipid vacuoles, and their progenitor cell is a skeletal muscle cell instead of an adipocyte, like WAT.
The primary function of BAT is to create thermal energy to achieve body temperature regulation, using uncoupling proteins (UCP) to create heat instead of ATP. In addition, BAT is located in specific body sites, such as the interscapular, axillary, and cervical region, considered superficial. Meanwhile, the deep sites are the perirenal, periaortic, inguinal, and pericardial regions.
BAT has the function of promoting heat production through UCPs, which, in turn, upregulates energy expenditure. On the other hand, a fasting state activates hunger signals from the gabaminergic neurons inhibiting the sympathetic system and thus thermogenesis. This mechanism, mediated by the lack of food, reduces energy expenditure.
Structure and composition are essential factors contributing to the different functions of fat mass. Specifically, in BAT, the quantity and concentration of mitochondria es crucial for its thermogenic function. Furthermore, the importance of energy homeostasis is vital for the proper development and maintenance of these tissues. Studies report that obese mice fed with high fat, high-energy diet have a larger quantity of WAT due to the conversion of BAT into WAT. This, in turn, affects thermoregulation, satiety/hunger neuronal signal, increases tissue inflammation and affects mitochondrial function. – Ana Paola Rodríguez Arciniega, MS
Frigolet, María E, and Ruth Gutiérrez-Aguilar. “The colors of adipose tissue.” “Los colores del tejido adiposo.” Gaceta medica de Mexico vol. 156,2 (2020): 142-149. doi:10.24875/GMM.M20000356
Bartelt, Alexander et al. “Brown adipose tissue thermogenic adaptation require Nrf1-mediated proteasomal activity.” Nature medicine vol. 24,3 (2018): 292-303. doi:10.1038/nm.4481
Additional Online Links & Resources (Available 24/7)
Online Appointments or Consultations: bit.ly/Book-Online-Appointment
Online Physical Injury / Accident Intake Form: bit.ly/Fill-Out-Your-Online-History
Online Functional Medicine Assessment: bit.ly/functionmed
The information herein on "How Adipose Tissue Impacts the Mitochondria: Energy Expenditure" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified health care professional.
Our information scope is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, sensitive health issues, functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.
Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and support, directly or indirectly, our clinical scope of practice.*
Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.
We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900.
We are here to help you and your family.
https://youtu.be/sOolG4CEBic On today’s podcast Spencer Salas and Dr. Alex Jimenez discuss CBD, TCH, and Hemp.… Read More
https://youtu.be/o348pjL26pE Dietary Supplement Quality Guide: Dr. Jimenez, Health coaches Adriana Caceres and Faith Arciniega, and… Read More
Back pain usually comes from lifting an object the wrong way or awkwardly moving the… Read More
Personal Injury, Trauma & Spine Rehab. Specialists