Additional information about this network, including datasets and any atlases assembled so far, can be found on our Data Portal.
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Adipose tissue, commonly known as fat, serves as the primary repository for excess calories. In addition, adipose tissue plays an important role in functions as diverse as insulation, immunity, blood pressure control, and regulation of tissue growth and repair. Adipocytes, the parenchymal cells of adipose tissue, are specialized cells with the ability to store large lipid droplets in the cytoplasm. Hormonal signals produced by adipocytes regulate a wide spectrum of metabolic functions including appetite and insulin sensitivity. Humans possess several different types of adipocytes, which appear in different amounts in the many fat depots throughout the body. In addition to adipocytes, there are a wide variety of immune, vascular, and stromal cells that interact with one another to coordinate the development and function of adipose tissue. Obesity is associated with aberrations of these interactions and of adipocyte function, and this is believed to underlie many of the comorbidities of weight gain.
The Adipose Biological Network will establish an atlas of the cells that populate adipose tissues in various states of health and disease. This will help us to understand the interplay between cell types in the fat pad as well as between the fat pad and other organs, and will enable us to develop new strategies to combat chronic diseases associated with overnutrition.