An established preadipose cell line and its differentiation in culture. II. Factors affecting the adipose conversion

Cell. 1975 May;5(1):19-27. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(75)90087-2.


When cells of the established preadipose line 3T3-L1 enter a resting state, they accumulate triglyceride and convert to adipose cells. The adipose conversion is brought about by a large increase in the rate of triglyceride synthesis, as measured by the incorporation rate of labeled palmitate, acetate, and glucose. In a resting 3T3 subline which dose not undergo the adipose conversion, the rate of triglyceride synthesis from these precursors is very low, and similar to that of growing 3T3-L1 cells, before their adipose conversion begins. If 3T3-L1 cells incorporate bromodeoxyuridine during growth, triglyceride synthesis does not increase when the cells reach a stationary state, and triglycerides do not accumulate. As would be expected from their known actions on tissue adipose cells, lipogenic and lipolytic hormones and drugs affect the rate of synthesis and accumulation of triglyceride by 3T3-L1 cells, but in contrast to bromodeoxyuridine, these modulating agents do not seem to affect the proportion of cells which undergoes the adipose conversion. Insulin markedly increases the rate of synthesis and accumulation of triglyceride by fatty 3T3-L1 cells, and produces a related increase in cell protein content. Of 20 randomly selected clones isolated from the original 3T3 stock, 19 are able to convert to adipose cells. The probability of such a conversion varies greatly among the different clones, in most cases being much lower than for 3T3-L1; but once the conversion takes place, the adipose cells produced from all of the 19 clones appear similar. The adipose conversion would seem to depend on an on-off switch, which is on with a different probability in different clones. This probability is quasistably inherited by the clonal progeny.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acetates / metabolism
  • Adipose Tissue*
  • Animals
  • Bromodeoxyuridine / metabolism
  • Bucladesine / pharmacology
  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Line*
  • Clone Cells
  • DNA / biosynthesis
  • Epinephrine / pharmacology
  • Fibroblasts
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Insulin / pharmacology
  • Isoproterenol / pharmacology
  • Mice
  • Palmitates / metabolism
  • Phospholipids / biosynthesis
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • Triglycerides / biosynthesis


  • Acetates
  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Insulin
  • Palmitates
  • Phospholipids
  • Triglycerides
  • Bucladesine
  • DNA
  • Bromodeoxyuridine
  • Glucose
  • Isoproterenol
  • Epinephrine