These may look like holly berries, but they are in fact white fat cells colored red. Fat cells are some of the largest cells in the body and can grow to be about the same diameter as a human hair (i.e., 100 micrometers). Fat cells are essential—as they store and release energy, protect major organs, and provide insulation from the cold. But it turns out that they also produce hormones and other substances that affect our health—and this is particularly true of fat cells around the midsection. Having excess belly fat can disrupt the normal balance of hormones and increase the risks of heart disease, diabetes, and even certain types of cancer. A balanced diet combined with exercise is essential—even during the holidays...
Fat tissue was taken from a mouse that had been genetically engineered to make its blood vessels glow green under fluorescent light and treated with a dye (LipidTox Red) that turns fat red. To reveal the 3D architecture of the fat tissue computer software was used to piece together approximately 200 images taken across the depth of intact tissue using a confocal and two-photon microscope.
Daniela Malide MD, PhD, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, NIH, Bethesda, MD