A unique population of rat adipocyte precursor cells was derived from normal rat bone marrow. The epitheloid-like preadipocytes were isolated from a mixed culture of bone marrow cells by a combination of differential trypsinization, enrichment by Ficoll gradient centrifugation, and differential seeding. This cell line, designated RBM-Ad, can be fully differentiated into multilocular adipocytes morphologically resembling brown adipose tissue. No changes in the differentiation pattern are observed during propagation of these cells, and they have been successfully carried and differentiated up to passage 49. Histological staining of differentiated cells with Sudan black, Sudan IV, and oil red O indicates the presence of lipids in intracellular vesicles. The nonselective β-adrenergic agonist isoproterenol stimulates adenylyl cyclase activity in both preadipocytes and differentiated adipocytes. In contrast, BRL-37344, a β3-adrenergic receptor-specific agonist, stimulates adenylyl cyclase activity and glycerol release in differentiated adipocytes, but not preadipocytes. In addition, differentiated adipocytes contain messenger RNA encoding the brown adipose- specific protein, thermogenin. Thus, this rat preadipocyte cell line can be differentiated into adipocytes that histologically and functionally resemble brown adipose tissue.
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