Development of a chemically defined serum-free medium for differentiation of rat adipose precursor cells

Exp Cell Res. 1987 Jan;168(1):15-30. doi: 10.1016/0014-4827(87)90412-5.


Stromal-vascular cells from the epididymal fat pad of 4-week-old rats, when cultured in a medium containing insulin or insulin-like growth factor, IGF-I, triiodothyronine and transferrin, were able to undergo adipose conversion. Over ninety percent of the cells accumulated lipid droplets and this proportion was reduced in serum-supplemented medium. The adipose conversion was assessed by the development of lipoprotein lipase (LPL) and glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GPDH) activities, [14C]glucose incorporation into polar and neutral lipids, triacylglycerol accumulation and lipolysis in response to isoproterenol. Similar results were obtained with stromal-vascular cells from rat subcutaneous and retroperitoneal adipose tissues. Stromal-vascular cells required no adipogenic factors in addition to the components of the serum-free medium. Insulin was required within a physiological range of concentrations for the emergence of LPL and at higher concentrations for that of GPDH. When present at concentrations ranging from 2 to 50 nM, IGF-I was able to replace insulin for the expression of both LPL and GPDH. The development of a serum-free, chemically defined medium for the differentiation of diploid adipose precursor cells opens up the possibility of characterizing inhibitors or activators of the adipose conversion process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / cytology*
  • Adipose Tissue / drug effects
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Blood
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Culture Media
  • Glycerolphosphate Dehydrogenase / metabolism
  • Insulin / pharmacology*
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / pharmacology
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Lipoprotein Lipase / metabolism
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Transferrin / pharmacology*
  • Triglycerides / metabolism
  • Triiodothyronine / pharmacology*


  • Culture Media
  • Insulin
  • Transferrin
  • Triglycerides
  • Triiodothyronine
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • Glycerolphosphate Dehydrogenase
  • Lipoprotein Lipase