Isolation and study of adipocyte precursors

Methods Enzymol. 2014;537:31-46. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-411619-1.00003-3.


White adipose tissue (WAT) is a heterogeneous tissue composed of lipid-filled adipocytes and several nonadipocyte cell populations, including endothelial, blood, uncharacterized stromal, and adipocyte precursor cells. Although lipid-filled adipocytes account for the majority of WAT volume and mass, nonadipocyte cell populations have critical roles in WAT maintenance, growth, and function. As mature adipocytes are terminally differentiated postmitotic cells, differentiation of adipocyte precursors is required for hyperplastic WAT growth during development and in obesity. In this chapter, we present methods to separate adipocyte precursor cells from other nonadipocyte cell populations within WAT for analysis by flow cytometry or purification by fluorescence-activated cell sorting. Additionally, we provide methods to study the adipogenic capacity of purified adipocyte precursor cells ex vivo.

Keywords: Adipocyte precursor; Adipogenesis; Adipose tissue; Preadipocytes; Progenitor; Stem cell; Stromal vascular.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3T3-L1 Cells
  • Adipocytes / pathology*
  • Adipogenesis*
  • Adipose Tissue, White / growth & development
  • Adipose Tissue, White / pathology*
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Endothelium, Vascular / pathology
  • Flow Cytometry / methods*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Obesity / pathology*