Three-dimensional in vitro model of adipogenesis: comparison of culture conditions

Tissue Eng. 2004 Jan-Feb;10(1-2):215-29. doi: 10.1089/107632704322791862.


In vivo and in vitro studies have demonstrated both promise and current limitations in tissue engineering of fat. Herein, we report the establishment of a well-defined three-dimensional (3-D) in vitro model useful for systematic investigations of 3-D adipogenesis. Polyglycolic acid fiber meshes were dynamically seeded with 3T3-L1 preadipocytes; subsequently, cell-polymer constructs were hormonally induced and cultivation under three different conditions was evaluated. Regarding tissue coherence and intracellular lipid content, culture of cell-polymer constructs either dynamically in well plates or in stirred bioreactors yielded similar results, which were distinctly improved compared with static conditions in well plates. At the protein and mRNA levels, significantly increased expression of genes characteristic for a mature adipose phenotype was demonstrated for constructs dynamically cultured in well plates, as compared with static conditions. Furthermore, investigation of lipolysis under stimulating and inhibiting conditions demonstrated functionality of the dynamically differentiated constructs. Using dynamic culture conditions, the presented in vitro model system is suggested as a valuable tool serving both fat tissue engineering and basic research by facilitating investigations of tissue-inherent features not possible under conventional 2-D culture conditions.

MeSH terms

  • 3T3-L1 Cells
  • Adipocytes* / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Bioreactors
  • Cell Culture Techniques / instrumentation
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods
  • Gene Expression
  • Mice
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Tissue Engineering*
  • Triglycerides / metabolism


  • Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Triglycerides