Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 157–173 | Cite as

Characteristics and metabolism of different adipose tissues in fish

  • Claudine WeilEmail author
  • Florence Lefèvre
  • Jerôme Bugeon


Lipids are the predominant source of energy for fish and are stored in fat depots in different parts of the body regions. This review focuses on visceral, subcutaneous and intramuscular adipose tissues that interfere with carcass and fillet yields and with flesh quality. The morphological, cellular and biochemical characteristics of these tissues are discussed as well as the different mechanisms involved in the regulation of their lipid metabolism. Particular emphasis is given to the modulation of these characteristics and mechanisms by different extrinsic (food composition, water parameters) and intrinsic (selective breeding, life cycle status) factors. This review focuses on recent studies that take into account the present challenges of fin-fish aquaculture, which are principally (1) the replacement of fish oil and meal by vegetable oil and meal due to the need for sustainability and the limited availability of fish to prepare food pellets, and (2) selective breeding programs to improve fish growth and flesh quality. These studies apply various modern technologies to different fish species, including the development of cell culture systems and transcriptomic and proteomic techniques. This review highlights that fish adipose tissues differ in their localization and their morphological characteristics and that they show a large plasticity in their responses to variations of both extrinsic and intrinsic factors. These different responses reinforce the idea of their differential participation in fish lipid homeostasis.


Adipose tissue Regional localization Adiposity regulation Intrinsic and extrinsic factors Fish 



For non published results, the authors received funding from Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Département de Physiologie animale et système d’Elevage and the European Community’s Sixth and Seventh Framework Programme, under grant agreement no. 513962, AQUAFIRST project and no. 222719, LIFECYCLE project, respectively. The authors are grateful to the staff of the PEIMA facilities and to D. Abel (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Lancaster) for fish rearing and assistance with slaughter measurements, and to N. Sabin for image analysis of adipose tissues.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claudine Weil
    • 1
    Email author
  • Florence Lefèvre
    • 1
  • Jerôme Bugeon
    • 1
  1. 1.INRA, UR1037 Laboratoire de Physiologie et Génomique des Poissons (ex SCRIBE)RennesFrance

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