Little is known about whether bone marrow–derived circulating progenitor cells (BMDCPCs) can transdifferentiate into adipocytes in adipose tissues or play a role in expanding adipocyte number during adipose tissue growth. Using a mouse bone marrow transplantation model, we addressed whether BMDCPCs can transdifferentiate into adipocytes under standard conditions as well as in the settings of diet-induced obesity, rosiglitazone treatment, and exposure to G-CSF. We also addressed the possibility of transdifferentiation to adipocytes in a murine parabiosis model. In each of these settings, our findings indicated that BMDCPCs did not transdifferentiate into either unilocular or multilocular adipocytes in adipose tissues. Most BMDCPCs became resident and phagocytic macrophages in adipose tissues — which resembled transdifferentiated multilocular adipocytes by appearance, but displayed cell surface markers characteristic for macrophages — in the absence of adipocyte marker expression. When exposed to adipogenic medium in vitro, bone marrow cells differentiated into multilocular, but not unilocular, adipocytes, but transdifferentiation was not observed in vivo, even in the contexts of adipose tissue regrowth or dermal wound healing. Our results suggest that BMDCPCs do not transdifferentiate into adipocytes in vivo and play little, if any, role in expanding the number of adipocytes during the growth of adipose tissues.


Young Jun Koh, Shinae Kang, Hyuek Jong Lee, Tae-Saeng Choi, Ho Sub Lee, Chung-Hyun Cho, Gou Young Koh


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