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Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2005 Apr 15;146(2-3):107-16.

Oxygen consumption in undifferentiated versus differentiated adipogenic mesenchymal precursor cells.

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Department of Plastic Surgery and Hand Surgery--Burn Center, University Hospital of the Aachen University of Technology, Pauwelsstr. 30, 52057 Aachen, Germany.


To date, no adequate implant material for the correction of soft tissue defects such as after extensive deep burns, tumor resections or in congenital defects is available. A biohybrid composed of viable adipose precursor cells and an optimised matrix could help towards a solution. Morphologically, preadipocytes resemble fibroblasts and have not yet built a large cytoplasmic lipid droplet as found in differentiated adipocytes. Additionally, preadipocytes are smaller than mature adipocytes allowing a quicker revascularization after transplantation. Furthermore, transplanted preadipocytes can form adipose tissue in vivo whereas the transplantation of mature adipocytes often gives poor results, i.e. oil cysts or shrinkage of the transplant. Since these observations point to differences in metabolic activity between preadipocytes and adipocytes, we investigated the oxygen consumption of preadipocytes stimulated to undergo differentiation, and fibroblasts, by measuring the respiration with a Clark-type oxygen electrode. Preadipocytes had a significantly lower oxygen consumption than mature adipocytes. This advantage in respiration and the better revascularization of undifferentiated adipose tissue cells allow the development of innovative transplants and point to preadipocytes as promising tool to improve transplantations in adipose tissue reconstruction.

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