Difference Between Areolar and Adipose tissue

The main difference between areolar and adipose tissue is that the areolar tissue fills the space between organs, supporting internal organs whereas the adipose tissue serves as the fat reservoir and thermal insulator. Furthermore, areolar tissue occurs between the skin and muscles and around blood vessels and nerves while adipose tissue occurs between internal organs. 

Areolar and adipose tissue are two types of loose connective tissue that occur between the internal structures of the body, providing a medium for transport and structural support.  

Key Areas Covered 

 1. What is Areolar Tissue
     – Definition, Structure, Function
2. What is Adipose Tissue
     – Definition, Structure, Function
3. What are the Similarities Between Areolar and Adipose Tissue
     – Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Areolar and Adipose Tissue
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms

Adipose Tissue, Areolar Tissue, Fibroblast, location, Loose Connective Tissue

Difference Between Areolar and Adipose Tissue - Comparison Summary

What is Areolar Tissue 

Areolar tissue is one of the commonest forms of loose connective tissue. It occurs in both dermis and the subcutaneous layers of the skin. It attaches the skin to the beneath muscles. It also occurs around mucous membranes, blood vessels, and nerves. Many cells are scattered throughout the fiber meshwork of the areolar tissue. These cells are fibroblasts, plasma cells, adipocytes, mast cells, and macrophages

Difference Between Areolar and Adipose tissue

Figure 1: Areolar Tissue

The key functions of the areolar tissue are support, strength, and elasticity. 

What is Adipose Tissue 

Adipose tissue is the form of loose connective tissue that stores fat in the body in the form of triglycerides. It forms a thick layer under the skin, around the heart, kidneys, joints, and buttock. The most prominent types of cells in the adipose tissue are the adipocytes. Each adipocyte cell is filled with a single, large droplet of fat. The cytoplasm and the nucleus of the cell are pushed to the edges as fat occupies most of its space.

Main Difference - Areolar and Adipose Tissue

Figure 2: Adipose Tissue

The main function of the adipose tissue is to serve as an insulating layer that helps to reduce the heat loss through the skin. It also provides mechanical protection to the internal organs. Adipose tissue is an energy source as it stores fat.  

Similarities Between Areolar and Adipose Tissue 

  • Areolar and adipose tissue are two types of loose connective tissue, the most common type of connective tissue in vertebrates. 
  • They consist of cells dispersed in an extracellular matrix. 
  • The three types of fibers found in these tissues are collagen fibers, elastic fibers, and reticular fibers. 
  • Both help to hold internal organs in place and attach epithelial tissue to the underlying tissue. 

Difference Between Areolar and Adipose Tissue 


Areolar Tissue: A type of loose connective tissue widely distributed in the body that contains collagen fibers, reticular fibers, and a few elastic fibers 

Adipose Tissue: A specialized type of loose connective tissue that functions as the major storage site for fat  


Areolar Tissue: Between the skin and muscles and around the blood vessels and nerves 

Adipose Tissue: Below the skin and around internal organs 

Type of Cells 

Areolar Tissue: Fibroblasts, plasma cells, adipocytes, mast cells, and macrophages  

Adipose Tissue: Adipocytes 


Areolar Tissue: Provides support, strength, and elasticity 

Adipose Tissue: Thermal insulator, mechanical protection, and energy storage 


Areolar tissue fills the spaces between internal organs and facilitates transportation while adipose tissue serves as a fat reservoir and heat insulator. Both areolar and adipose tissues are loose connective tissues. Areolar tissue mainly consists of fibroblasts whereas adipose tissue consists of adipocytes. The main difference between areolar and adipose tissue is the structure and function. 


1. “Areolar Tissue.” Urinalysis – The Composition of Urine.,
2. “Adipose Tissue.” Urinalysis – The Composition of Urine.,

Image Courtesy:

1. “Areolar” By Brittany () via
2. “Blausen 0012 AdiposeTissue” By Blausen.com staff (2014). “Medical gallery of Blausen Medical 2014″. WikiJournal of Medicine 1 (2). DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.010. ISSN 2002-4436. – Own work () via

About the Author: Lakna

Lakna, a graduate in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, is a Molecular Biologist and has a broad and keen interest in the discovery of nature related things

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