Different adipose depots have distinct physiological functions associated with their anatomical location and cell composition. For example, accumulation of intra-abdominal (visceral) white adipose tissue is associated with insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome, whereas accumulation of subcutaneous adipose tissue is not metabolically detrimental and may be even associated with increased insulin sensitivity.

Determining the mechanisms for these phenotypic differences could lead to development of novel therapies for diabetes, obesity, and their associated morbidities.