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The developments in the technologies based on the use of autologous adipose tissue attracted attention to minor depots as possible sampling areas. Some of those depots have never been studied in detail. The present study was performed on subcutaneous adipose depots sampled in different areas with the aim of explaining their morphology, particularly as far as regards stem niches. The results demonstrated that three different types of white adipose tissue (WAT) can be differentiated on the basis of structural and ultrastructural features: deposit WAT (dWAT), structural WAT (sWAT) and fibrous WAT (fWAT). dWAT can be found essentially in large fatty depots in the abdominal area (periumbilical). In the dWAT, cells are tightly packed and linked by a weak net of isolated collagen fibers. Collagenic components are very poor, cells are large and few blood vessels are present. The deep portion appears more fibrous then the superficial one. The microcirculation is formed by thin walled capillaries with rare stem niches. Reinforcement pericyte elements are rarely evident. The sWAT is more stromal; it is located in some areas in the limbs and in the hips. The stroma is fairly well represented, with a good vascularity and adequate staminality. Cells are wrapped by a basket of collagen fibers. The fatty depots of the knees and of the trochanteric areas have quite loose meshes. The fWAT has a noteworthy fibrous component and can be found in areas where a severe mechanic stress occurs. Adipocytes have an individual thick fibrous shell. In conclusion, the present study demonstrates evident differences among subcutaneous WAT deposits, thus suggesting that in regenerative procedures based on autologous adipose tissues the sampling area should not be randomly chosen, but it should be oriented by evidence based evaluations. The structural peculiarities of the sWAT, and particularly of its microcirculation, suggest that it could represent a privileged source for regenerative procedures based on autologous adipose tissues.
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