Pdgfrβ+ Mural Preadipocytes Contribute to Adipocyte Hyperplasia Induced by High-Fat-Diet Feeding and Prolonged Cold Exposure in Adult Mice

Cell Metab. 2016 Feb 9;23(2):350-9. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2015.10.018. Epub 2015 Nov 25.


The expansion of white adipose tissue (WAT) in obesity involves de novo differentiation of new adipocytes; however, the cellular origin of these cells remains unclear. Here, we utilize Zfp423(GFP) reporter mice to characterize adipose mural (Pdgfrβ(+)) cells with varying levels of the preadipocyte commitment factor Zfp423. We find that adipose tissue contains distinct mural populations, with levels of Zfp423 distinguishing adipogenic from inflammatory-like mural cells. Using our "MuralChaser" lineage tracking system, we uncover adipose perivascular cells as developmental precursors of adipocytes formed in obesity, with adipogenesis and precursor abundance regulated in a depot-dependent manner. Interestingly, Pdgfrβ(+) cells do not significantly contribute to the initial cold-induced recruitment of beige adipocytes in WAT; it is only after prolonged cold exposure that these cells differentiate into beige adipocytes. These results provide genetic evidence for a mural cell origin of white adipocytes in obesity and suggest that beige adipogenesis may originate from multiple sources.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / metabolism
  • Adipocytes / pathology*
  • Adipogenesis
  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / pathology
  • Adipose Tissue, White / pathology
  • Aging / pathology*
  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Cell Count
  • Cell Lineage
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cold Temperature*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Diet, High-Fat*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Hyperplasia
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Receptor, Platelet-Derived Growth Factor beta / metabolism*
  • Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Biomarkers
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Ebfaz protein, mouse
  • Transcription Factors
  • Receptor, Platelet-Derived Growth Factor beta