Growth of Adipose Tissue

  • E. M. Widdowson
Part of the Nutrition and Food Science book series (NFS, volume 3)


Fat is deposited in the body of the foetus in two main forms. First there are the phospholipids which are an essential part of the structure of the cell membranes and nervous tissue, and these are synthesized by the foetus from early in gestation. The fatty acids required reach the foetus through the placenta. Then, at about 6 months gestation triglycerides begin to be deposited in the adipose tissue. Some of the fatty acids required for this undoubtedly come from the mother’s circulation, but at about this time the foetus itself begins to synthesize the non-essential fatty acids from glucose and aminoacids, and it has been suggested that it is able to do this because the endocrine pancreas of the foetus then begins to secrete insulin. One of the properties of insulin is to promote lipogenesis, and the foetus cannot begin to store triglyceride in its adipose tissue until its pancreas begins to secrete insulin. There are difficulties about this idea however because although the times coincide in the human foetus, they do not do so in other species.


Adipose Tissue Brown Adipose Tissue White Adipose Tissue Biochemical Development Endocrine Pancreas 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. M. Widdowson
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of MedicineAddenbrooke’s HospitalCambridgeEngland

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