The evolution of the adipose tissue: A neglected enigma

Enzo Ottaviani, Davide Malagoli, Claudio Franceschi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The complexity of the anatomical distribution and functions of adipose tissue (AT) has been rarely analyzed in an evolutionary perspective. From yeast to man lipid droplets are stored mainly in the form of triglycerides in order to provide energy during periods when energy demands exceed caloric intake. This simple scenario is in agreement with the recent discovery of a highly conserved family of proteins for fat storage in both unicellular and multicellular organisms. However, the evolutionary history of organs such as the fat body in insects, playing a role in immunity and other functions besides energy storage and thermal insulation, and of differently distributed subtypes of AT in vertebrates is much less clear. These topics still await a systematic investigation using up-to-date technologies and approaches that would provide information useful for understanding the role of different AT subtypes in normal/physiological conditions or in metabolic pathologies of humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalGeneral and Comparative Endocrinology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2011


  • Adipose tissue
  • Evolution
  • Invertebrates
  • Lipid droplets
  • Vertebrates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology


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