The biomechanics of fat: From tissue to a cell scale

Naama Shoham, Amit Gefen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Abstract

Adipose tissues are weight-bearing biological structures that are involved in central medical problems such as obesity, diabetes and their comorbidities. Their biomechanical properties are relevant in several fields such as cosmetics, acute and chronic wound treatments, implantable drug delivery systems, and plastic surgery. In this chapter, we relate the mechanical behavior of the adipose tissue continuum to the biological activities of adipocytes. We demonstrate that first, at a macroscopic scale, the mechanical behavior of adipose tissues depends on the anatomical site and hence on physiological function. At a microscopic scale, mechanical function such as cell stiffness properties depends on the triglyceride contents that in turn depend on the level of differentiation, which has recently been shown to be regulated by mechanical loading. Hence, based on the empirical data, we propose a novel hypothesis regarding structure–function–adaptation processes and relationships in fat, which might open new research paths for studying adipose-related diseases from a biomechanical point of view, involving the mechanotransduction and structure– function–adaptation concepts that are well known to exist for other tissues but were so far very poorly studied in fat.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStructure-Based Mechanics of Tissues and Organs
PublisherSpringer US
Pages79-92
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781489976307
ISBN (Print)9781489976291
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016

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