Adipose Tissue

Adipose tissue (fat) is deposited in various locations, called depots, in the mammalian body. The major depots include internal body fat associated with the gastrointestinal tract, heart, and kidneys, and subcutaneous, intermuscular and intramuscular fat. The relative amount of each depot varies with species, breed, frame size, and gender. During fetal growth, proliferative fat cells, i.e., preadipocytes (adipoblasts), arise from mesenchymal cells. These cells differentiate into immature adipocytes, but they accumulate little fat prior to the perinatal period.[5] Even though adipose tissue is late developing, some fat is laid down prior to birth. Pigs, lambs, calves, and foals have only 1 3% fat at birth,[6] which is primarily found in the body cavity. Another deposit laid down during late fetal development is brown fat found externally over the scapula area and in the thoracic cavity of some species, but not in the pig. It serves as a readily available source for heat generation in neonatal mammals.[3]

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