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FEBS Lett. 2009 Sep 3;583(17):2947-53. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2009.08.002. Epub 2009 Aug 6.

"The preadipocyte factor" DLK1 marks adult mouse adipose tissue residing vascular cells that lack in vitro adipogenic differentiation potential.

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Department of Immunology and Microbiology, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark.


Delta-like 1 (Dlk1) is expressed in 3T3-L1 preadipocytes and has frequently been referred to as "the" preadipocyte marker, yet the phenotype of DLK1(+) cells in adipose tissue remains undetermined. Herein, we demonstrate that DLK1(+) cells encompass around 1-2% of the adult mouse adipose stromal vascular fraction (SVF). Unexpectedly, the DLK1(+)SVF population was enriched for cells expressing genes generally ascribed to the vascular lineage and did not possess any adipogenic differentiation potential in vitro. Instead, DLK1(+) cells comprised an immediate ability for cobblestone formation, generation of tube-like structures on matrigel, and uptake of Acetylated Low Density-Lipoprotein, all characteristics of endothelial cells. We therefore suggest that DLK1(+)SVF cells are of a vascular origin and not them-selves committed preadipocytes as assumed hitherto.

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