Despite the rapidly growing body of work on stem cell-based adipose tissue engineering, there remains much to be learned about the role of the scaffold and culture environments in directing the adipogenic differentiation of cells. The present study examined how various culture environments and differentiation stimuli (traditional differentiation medium [DM] and coculture with mature adipocytes) impacted the adipogenic differentiation of human preadipocytes, with studies progressing from two-dimensions (2D) to three-dimensions (3D) in vitro. Assays for adipogenic markers (leptin, adiponectin, and glycerol) and Oil Red O staining were used to assess differentiation. After 16 days of 2D culture, adipogenesis was substantially greater when preadipocytes were cocultured with adipocytes rather than treated with DM. In a 3D in vitro environment, the production of adipogenic markers was significantly elevated relative to 2D conditions, and the coculture condition continued to stimulate greater adipogenesis. Alterations in 3D scaffold physical properties had only a minimal effect on the function of mature adipocytes, but significantly impacted the ability of preadipocytes to undergo adipogenic differentiation in vitro. These alterations in scaffold environment and in medium conditions, particularly the application of adipocyte/preadipocyte coculture methods in lieu of traditional DM, may provide further means for optimizing adipogenic outcomes in vitro and in vivo.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering