Differentiation Capacity of Human Aortic Perivascular Adipose Progenitor Cells.

Document Type


Publication Date



Maine Medical Center Research Institute

Journal Title

J Vis Exp

MeSH Headings

Adipocytes, Adipogenesis, Adipose Tissue, Animals, Aorta, Cell Differentiation, Cell Shape, Cells, Cultured, Chondrogenesis, Humans, Mesenchymal Stem Cells, Osteogenesis, Stromal Cells


Adipose tissue is a rich source of multi-potent mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) capable of differentiating into osteogenic, adipogenic, and chondrogenic lineages. Adipogenic differentiation of progenitor cells is a major mechanism driving adipose tissue expansion and dysfunction in response to obesity. Understanding changes to perivascular adipose tissue (PVAT) is thus clinically relevant in metabolic disease. However, previous studies have been predominately performed in the mouse and other animal models. This protocol uses human thoracic PVAT samples collected from patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft surgery. Adipose tissue from the ascending aorta was collected and used for explantation of the stromal vascular fraction. We previously confirmed the presence of adipose progenitor cells in human PVAT with the capacity to differentiate into lipid-containing adipocytes. In this study, we further analyzed the differentiation potential of cells from the stromal vascular fraction, presumably containing multi-potent progenitor cells. We compared PVAT-derived cells to human bone marrow MSC for differentiation into adipogenic, osteogenic, and chondrogenic lineages. Following 14 days of differentiation, specific stains were utilized to detect lipid accumulation in adipocytes (Oil red O), calcific deposits in osteogenic cells (Alizarin Red), or glycosaminoglycans and collagen in chondrogenic cells (Masson's Trichrome). While bone marrow MSC efficiently differentiated into all three lineages, PVAT-derived cells had adipogenic and chondrogenic potential, but lacked robust osteogenic potential.