Secreted protein, acidic and rich in cysteine (SPARC), a matricellular protein, modulates extracellular matrix assembly and turnover in many physiological processes. SPARC-null mice exhibit an increased accumulation of adipose tissue. To distinguish between the functions of SPARC in adipogenesis during development and adulthood, we studied wild-type (WT) and SPARC-null mice maintained on a normal (low-fat) or high-fat (HF) diet. On an HF diet, SPARC-null mice exhibited significantly greater weight gain, in comparison to their WT counterparts, and had an enhanced cortical bone area that was likely due to increased mechanical loading. Diet-induced obesity (DIO) was also associated with an increase in vertebral trabecular bone in WT mice, but a significant change in this parameter was not observed in SPARC-null animals. We show that SPARC inhibits mitotic clonal expansion of preadipocytes at an early stage of adipogenesis. Moreover, there were substantially diminished levels of type I collagen in SPARC-null adipose tissue, as well as a reduction in the number of cross-linked, mature collagen fibers. In the absence of SPARC, mice show enhanced DIO. In adult animals, SPARC functions in the production and remodeling of adipose tissue, as well as in the regulation of preadipocyte differentiation.