Fighting fat with fat: the expanding field of adipose stem cells

Cell Stem Cell. 2009 Nov 6;5(5):472-81. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2009.10.014.


We are in the midst of a dire, unprecedented, and global epidemic of obesity and secondary sequelae, most prominently diabetes and hyperlipidemia. Underlying this epidemic is the most hated of cells, adipocytes, and their inherent dynamic ability to expand and renew. This capacity highlights a heretofore undefined stem compartment. Recent in vivo studies, relying upon lineage tracing and flow cytometry methods, have begun to unravel the identity of adipose stem cells, their niche, and the dynamism central to adipose expansion. Thus, the field is moving in a direction that may allow us to manipulate adipose stem cells to beneficial therapeutic ends.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / cytology*
  • Adipocytes / metabolism
  • Adipose Tissue / cytology
  • Adult Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Adult Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Antigens, Differentiation / metabolism
  • Blood Vessels / cytology
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Mobilization
  • Humans
  • Hyperlipidemias / genetics
  • Hyperlipidemias / therapy*
  • Lipodystrophy / genetics
  • Lipodystrophy / therapy*
  • Stem Cell Niche*
  • Tissue Transplantation


  • Antigens, Differentiation