Characterization of adipose depot-specific stromal cell populations by single-cell mass cytometry

iScience. 2022 Mar 26;25(4):104166. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2022.104166. eCollection 2022 Apr 15.


The increased prevalence of obesity and metabolic diseases has heightened interest in adipose tissue biology and its potential as a therapeutic target. To better understand cellular heterogeneity and complexity of white adipose tissue (WAT), we employed cytometry by time-of-flight (CyTOF) to characterize immune and stromal cells in visceral and subcutaneous WAT depots under normal and high-fat diet feeding, by quantifying the expression levels of 32 surface marker proteins. We observed comparable proportions of immune cells in two WAT depots under steady state, but depot-distinct subtypes of adipose precursor cells (APC), suggesting differences in their adipogenic and fibrogenic potential. Furthermore, in addition to pro-inflammatory immune cell shifts, significant pro-fibrotic changes were observed in APCs under high-fat diet, suggesting that APCs are early responders to dietary challenges. We propose CyTOF as a complementary and alternative tool to current high-throughput single-cell transcriptomic analyses to better understand the function and plasticity of adipose tissue.

Keywords: Cell biology; Immunology; Specialized functions of cells.