Genetics of fat deposition

Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2021 Dec;25(1 Suppl):14-22. doi: 10.26355/eurrev_202112_27329.


Adipose tissue distribution usually varies among men and women. In men, adipose tissue is known to accumulate in the abdominal region surrounding the visceral organs (android fat distribution) whereas, in women, the accumulation of adipose tissue generally occurs in the gluteal-femoral regions (gynoid fat distribution). In some cases, however, android distribution can be found in women and gynoid distribution can be found in men. The regulation of adipose tissue accumulation involves interaction of a variety of genetic and environmental factors. This review examines genetic factors that cause differential distribution of adipose tissue in different depots of the body, between men and women and between different ethnicities. Genome-wide association studies can be used to identify genetic associations with the distribution and accumulation of adipose tissue. Insight into adipose tissue accumulation and distribution mechanisms could lead to development of personalized interventions for people who develop increased fat mass.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipogenesis / genetics*
  • Adipose Tissue / physiology*
  • Body Fat Distribution*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / ethnology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / genetics
  • Ethnicity / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genome-Wide Association Study / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / ethnology
  • Obesity / genetics
  • Sex Characteristics*