Thursday, 24 April 2014

The changing colour of fat

The changing colour of fat

It appears that fat cells come in three distinct forms: white fat cells, which specifically store energy in the form of lipids; brown fat cells, found around the head and neck which burn energy to release heat; and beige fat cells which are an immature form of brown fat cells, existing in white fat tissue. 

None of these cells are inherently "good" or "bad" under normal conditions; however, during obesity, white cells expand and proliferate at a rate faster than the development of vasculature causing a hypoxic environment. HIF-1α, a factor associated with cancer, is recruited to the tissue causing excess production of connective tissue (fibrosis). These fat cells also attract immune cells, become inflamed, develop metabolic disease and insulin resistance, which can result in diabetes.

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