Flow cytometry analyses of adipose tissue macrophages

Methods Enzymol. 2014;537:297-314. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-411619-1.00016-1.


Within adipose tissue, multiple leukocyte interactions contribute to metabolic homeostasis in health as well as to the pathogenesis of insulin resistance with obesity. Adipose tissue macrophages (ATMs) are the predominant leukocyte population in fat and contribute to obesity-induced inflammation. Characterization of ATMs and other leukocytes in the stromal vascular fraction from fat has benefited from the use of flow cytometry and flow-assisted cell sorting techniques. These methods permit the immunophenotyping, quantification, and purification of these unique cell populations from multiple adipose tissue depots in rodents and humans. Proper isolation, quantification, and characterization of ATM phenotypes are critical for understanding their role in adipose tissue function and obesity-induced metabolic diseases. Here, we present the flow cytometry protocols for phenotyping ATMs in lean and obese mice employed by our laboratory.

Keywords: Adipose tissue macrophages; Flow cytometry; Stromal vascular cells.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / pathology*
  • Animals
  • Cell Lineage
  • Cell Separation / methods*
  • Flow Cytometry / methods*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / genetics
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Insulin Resistance / genetics
  • Macrophages / pathology*
  • Mice
  • Obesity / genetics
  • Obesity / pathology