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The hypodermis


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Scanning electron microscopy of adipocytes.

Scanning electron microscopy of adipocytes.

The hypodermis is the innermost and thickest layer of the skin. It invaginates into the dermis and is attached to the latter, immediately above it, by collagen and elastin fibres. It is essentially composed of a type of cells specialised in accumulating and storing fats, known as adipocytes. These cells are grouped together in lobules separated by connective tissue .

The hypodermis acts as an energy reserve. The fats contained in the adipocytes can be put back into circulation, via the venous route, during intense effort or when there is a lack of energy providing substances, and are then transformed into energy. When we speak of "burning up calories", we are burning up fats in particular. The hypodermis participates, passively at least, in thermoregulation since fat is a heat insulator.

The anatomical position of the hypodermis is clearly a sexual characteristic. Whilst the hypodermis is distributed over the entire body, it has a tendency to accumulate above the belt over the abdomen and shoulders in men, and in women, below the waist around the thighs, hips and buttocks.




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