Quantification of Lipid Area within Thermogenic Mouse Perivascular Adipose Tissue Using Standardized Image Analysis in FIJI

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MaineHealth Institute for Research

Journal Title

Journal of vascular research

MeSH Headings

Adipose Tissue (metabolism); Animals; Aorta, Thoracic; Caloric Restriction; Diet, High-Fat; Fluorescent Dyes; Image Processing, Computer-Assisted; Indoles; Lipid Metabolism; Mice, Inbred C57BL; Microscopy, Confocal; Microscopy, Fluorescence; Phenotype; Reproducibility of Results; Staining and Labeling; Thermogenesis


Quantification of adipocyte size and number is routinely performed for white adipose tissues using existing image analysis software. However, thermogenic adipose tissue has multilocular adipocytes, making it difficult to distinguish adipocyte cell borders and to analyze lipid proportion using existing methods. We developed a simple, standardized method to quantify lipid content of mouse thermogenic adipose tissue. This method, using FIJI analysis of hematoxylin/eosin stained sections, was highly objective and highly reproducible, with ∼99% inter-rater reliability. The method was compared to direct lipid staining of adipose tissue, with comparable results. We used our method to analyze perivascular adipose tissue (PVAT) from C57BL/6 mice on a normal chow diet, compared to calorie restriction or a high fat diet, where lipid storage phenotypes are known. Results indicate that lipid content can be estimated within mouse PVAT in a quantitative and reproducible manner, and shows correlation with previously studied molecular and physiological measures.

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