Culture of Isolated Human Adipocytes and Isolated Adipose Tissue

  • Kirstin A. Carswell
  • Mi-Jeong Lee
  • Susan K. Fried
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 806)


Adipose tissue (AT) is no longer considered merely as insulation or padding for human organs. It is an endocrine organ in its own right, which includes composite cells with the ability to differentiate into multiple cell lines. In fact, there is increasing evidence to support the theory that the causation of obesity and its associated metabolic disorders originate at the cellular or tissue level. Adipocyte dysfunction and chronic inflammatory states are able to modulate triglyceride storage and mobilization directly through cytokine and adipokine release. Significant variability exists between adipocyte isolation and culture techniques which subsequently can impact experimental results. We aim to explain the importance of controlling these variables, to assist tailoring methodological choice towards the investigational outcomes, and modifications of the techniques used accordingly. The techniques described in this chapter yield cell and adipose tissue which can be utilised in many different ways, including adipose tissue stem cells for differentiation, DNA analysis, RT-PCR, immunohistochemistry, lipolysis, glucose uptake, and LPL activity.

Key words

Adipocytes Adipose tissue Cell culture techniques 



We would like to thank Mr. Ameet G Patel for his generous support throughout this work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kirstin A. Carswell
    • 1
  • Mi-Jeong Lee
    • 2
    • 3
  • Susan K. Fried
    • 4
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of SurgeryKing’s College Hospital and King’s College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and NutritionBoston UniversityBostonUSA
  3. 3.Boston Obesity Nutrition Research Center, School of MedicineBoston UniversityBostonUSA
  4. 4.Section of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Nutrition, Department of MedicineBoston UniversityBostonUSA

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