White adipose tissue (WAT) is an organ that is still often overlooked although it can represent approximately 20 – 25 percent of the body weight in healthy men and women and even more than 50 percent in the case of illness (obesity). WAT is a highly specialized connective tissue which has only been perceived as a storage and energy supply organ for a long time. Nowadays, it is recognized as an important endocrine organ secreting a wide array of cytokines and thus playing an important role in a wide range of diseases of the liver, heart and kidneys.
Due to the rapidly increasing prevalence of obesity and associated diseases such as type-2 diabetes, it is becoming more and more important for pharmaceutical and biomedical research to understand (patho-)mechanisms and dysfunction in fat tissues. However, at present, a limiting factor is that human adult fat tissue can only be cultivated in vitro to a limited extent. The Attract group Organ-on-a-chip has now succeeded in generating a human adult WAT in a micro-physiological 3D environment and keeping it functional for more than one month using blood-vessel-like perfusion. The WAT-on-a-chip system opens up a variety of possibilities for studies on mechanistic processes in obesity and diabetes research as well as for the examination of effect, toxicity and storage of pharmaceutical preparations.