Mesenchymal stem cells from rat visceral fat exhibit multipotential differentiation in vitro

S. S. Tholpady, A. J. Katz, R. C. Ogle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

155 Scopus citations


Human subcutaneous fat-derived stem cells were recently shown to have the potential to differentiate in vitro into a variety of cell types, including adipocytes, osteoblasts, chondrocytes, and myoblasts (Zuk et al., Tissue Eng. 2001;7:211-228). Subcutaneous adipose tissue may therefore prove to be an easily acquired and abundant source of stem cells. Presently it is unclear whether mammals such as rats (which possess small or non-existent subcutaneous fat pads) contain mesenchymal stem cells within the visceral fat of the abdominal cavity, or whether the visceral fat of any species contains stem cells. In this study we isolated and expanded a pool of mesenchymal cells from visceral fat of adult Sprague-Dawley rats and induced their differentiation in vitro into adipocytes, osteoblasts, neural cells, and chondrocytes. The differentiated phenotypes were verified by morphology as well as detection and expression of tissue-specific protein and mRNA. We conclude that despite well-documented differences in the metabolic and biochemical properties among anatomically distinct depots of fat, the visceral fat of rats contains adult mesenchymal stem cells with developmental potential similar to those isolated from subcutaneous fat in humans. Therefore, animals such as rats provide both a source of fat-derived stem cells and an immunocompetent, autologous host animal in which to investigate the capacity of the fat-derived cells to differentiate and form tissues in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)398-402
Number of pages5
JournalAnatomical Record - Part A Discoveries in Molecular, Cellular, and Evolutionary Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2003


  • Adipose tissue
  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • Progenitors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)

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