The increased white adipose tissue (WAT) mass associated with obesity is the result of both hyperplasia and hypertrophy of adipocytes. However, the mechanisms controlling adipocyte number are unknown in part because the identity of the physiological adipocyte progenitor cells has not been defined in vivo. In this report, we employ a variety of approaches, including a noninvasive assay for following fat mass reconstitution in vivo, to identify a subpopulation of early adipocyte progenitor cells (Lin(-):CD29(+):CD34(+):Sca-1(+):CD24(+)) resident in adult WAT. When injected into the residual fat pads of A-Zip lipodystrophic mice, these cells reconstitute a normal WAT depot and rescue the diabetic phenotype that develops in these animals. This report provides the identification of an undifferentiated adipocyte precursor subpopulation resident within the adipose tissue stroma that is capable of proliferating and differentiating into an adipose depot in vivo.