The adipose tissue-derived stromal vascular fraction cells from lipedema patients: Are they different?

Cytotherapy. 2017 Jul;19(7):849-860. doi: 10.1016/j.jcyt.2017.03.073. Epub 2017 Apr 25.


Background aims: Lipedema is a hormone-related disease of women characterized by enlargement of the extremities caused by subcutaneous deposition of adipose tissue. In healthy patients application of autologous adipose tissue-derived cells has shown great potential in several clinical studies for engrafting of soft tissue reconstruction in recent decades. The majority of these studies have used the stromal vascular fraction (SVF), a heterogeneous cell population containing adipose-derived stromal/stem cells (ASC), among others. Because cell identity and regenerative properties might be affected by the health condition of patients, we characterized the SVF cells of 30 lipedema patients in comparison to 22 healthy patients.

Methods: SVF cells were analyzed regarding cell yield, viability, adenosine triphosphate content, colony forming units and proliferative capacity, as well as surface marker profile and differentiation potential in vitro.

Results: Our results demonstrated a significantly enhanced SVF cell yield isolated from lipedema compared with healthy patients. In contrast, the adipogenic differentiation potential of SVF cells isolated from lipedema patients was significantly reduced compared with healthy patients. Interestingly, expression of the mesenchymal marker CD90 and the endothelial/pericytic marker CD146 was significantly enhanced when isolated from lipedema patients.

Discussion: The enhanced number of CD90+ and CD146+ cells could explain the increased cell yield because the other tested surface marker were not reduced in lipedema patients. Because the cellular mechanism and composition in lipedema is largely unknown, our findings might contribute to a better understanding of its etiology.

Keywords: CD146; adipogenesis; adipose tissue; adult stem cells; lipedema; stromal vascular fraction.

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Adipogenesis / physiology
  • Adipose Tissue / cytology
  • Adipose Tissue / pathology*
  • Adult
  • CD146 Antigen / metabolism
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipedema / pathology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / pathology
  • Stromal Cells / cytology*
  • Stromal Cells / metabolism
  • Stromal Cells / pathology
  • Thy-1 Antigens / metabolism


  • CD146 Antigen
  • MCAM protein, human
  • Thy-1 Antigens
  • Adenosine Triphosphate