Difference between Areolar and Adipose Tissue

A loose connective tissue is made up of loosely packed elastin and collagen fibres that are suspended in a matrix. As the name suggests, the connective tissue functions to connect the cells of muscles and nerves. The ground substance is present in large amounts and gives an impression of an open space, for this reason, the loose connective tissue is also known as areolar tissue. 

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The loose connective tissue also contains fat cells called adipocytes in normal amounts. Sometimes, the fat cells are present in large amounts for storage purposes and then the loose connective tissue is referred to as adipose tissue. 

Another type of loose connective tissue is also made up of reticular fibres of type III collagen, referred to as reticular connective tissue. 

All in all, the loose connective tissues are of three types, namely, areolar tissue, adipose tissue and reticular tissue. This article focuses on the differences between areolar tissue and adipose tissue. Primarily, the areolar tissue is different from adipose tissue in filling up the space found between organs contrary to adipose tissue, which acts as a thermal insulator and fat reservoir. They also differ in the location in which they occur. Read on to find out their differences.  

What is Areolar Tissue?

Areolar tissue is the most common type of loose connective tissue that is widely distributed throughout the body. The elastin and collagen fibres are located far apart so as to leave enough space for the ground substance. The areolar tissue is strong enough to bind tissues together and also it is soft enough to provide cushioning and flexibility. 

What is Adipose Tissue?

Adipose tissues are loose connective tissues that are made up of fat cells called adipose cells or adipocytes. The cells of adipocytes are filled with one large droplet of fat. The adipose connective tissue is mainly located under the skin, between the muscles, intestines and around the heart. 

There are two types of adipose tissue found in mammals, brown and white. The brown adipose tissue is found in newborn organisms where it serves the purpose of generating heat or thermogenesis. White adipose connective tissue, on the other hand, is involved in storage of triglycerides, maintaining metabolic homeostasis, and endocrine functioning. 

Difference between Areolar Tissue and Adipose Tissue

The table below depicts a few differences between Areolar tissue and adipose tissue:

Areolar Tissue
Adipose Tissue
Common form of loose connective tissue containing matrix, collagen fibers, several types of cells, elastin fibers, collagen, reticular fibers Contains cells filled with matrix, fat globules, collagen and elastin fibers. Mainly serves as a fat reservoir.
Present between muscles and skin, surrounding nerves, blood vessels and bone marrow Present between delicate internal organs and beneath the skin
Fills space present in the organs, renders support to the delicate internal structures, provides elasticity and strength Acts as a thermal insulator and stores fat in the form of a large fat droplet.
Macrophages, mast cells, Fibroblasts Adipocytes

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Also Check:

Difference Between Parenchyma and Collenchyma cells
Difference between Meristematic and Permanent tissue

Frequently Asked Questions


Are there adipocytes in areolar tissue?

Yes, small amounts of adipocytes are present in the areolar tissue.


Is areolar tissue found in bone marrow?

Yes, the areolar tissue is found in bone marrow.

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