Human adipose stromal-vascular fraction self-organizes to form vascularized adipose tissue in 3D cultures

Sci Rep. 2019 May 10;9(1):7250. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-43624-6.


Native human subcutaneous adipose tissue (AT) is well organized into unilocular adipocytes interspersed within dense vascularization. This structure is completely lost under standard culture conditions and may impair the comparison with native tissue. Here, we developed a 3-D model of human white AT reminiscent of the cellular architecture found in vivo. Starting with adipose progenitors derived from the stromal-vascular fraction of human subcutaneous white AT, we generated spheroids in which endogenous endothelial cells self-assembled to form highly organized endothelial networks among stromal cells. Using an optimized adipogenic differentiation medium to preserve endothelial cells, we obtained densely vascularized spheroids containing mature adipocytes with unilocular lipid vacuoles. In vivo study showed that when differentiated spheroids were transplanted in immune-deficient mice, endothelial cells within the spheroids connected to the recipient circulatory system, forming chimeric vessels. In addition, adipocytes of human origin were still observed in transplanted mice. We therefore have developed an in vitro model of vascularized human AT-like organoids that constitute an excellent tool and model for any study of human AT.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / cytology*
  • Adipogenesis / physiology
  • Adipose Tissue, White / cytology*
  • Adiposity / physiology
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Coculture Techniques / methods
  • Endothelial Cells / cytology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Obesity / pathology
  • Organoids / cytology
  • Spheroids, Cellular / cytology
  • Stromal Cells / cytology*
  • Tissue Engineering / methods