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Brown vs. White Adipose Tissue: Brown Adipose Tissue is a Source of Multipoint Stem Cells with Greater Propensity for Neurogenesis


Spinal cord injuries can lead to life long debilitations, in some cases, paralysis. Patients suffering with spinal cord injury, however, may find hope for improved functionality of debilitated limbs via cell transplantation. Because adipose tissue is an abundant cell source that can be harbored from a patient through liposuction, we investigated and compared the differential propensity of brown and white adipose tissue-derived stem cells to generate neuronal cells. Although previous studies have shown white adipose stomal cells (ASCs) and dedifferentiated fat (DFAT) cells contain neurogenic potential, there has not been studies focused on ASCs and DFAT cells derived from brown adipose tissue, a subtype functionally different from white adipose tissue. In this study, we therefore focus on determining the differential potential of white and brown-derived ASCs and DFAT cells to generate neural cells.

To study the difference we cultured these cells in neural induction medium or “basic medium”, i.e 10% FBS in DMEM, and compared their expression of neural precursor genes, neuronal genes and glial genes. Our results indicate brown-derived adipose tissue as compared to white-derived adipose tissue contains a greater potential to become neuronal or glial-like cells; brown-derived ASCs cultured with 20% serum replacement in DMEM, showed significant increases in its neuroprogenitor while brown-derived DFAT cells in basic medium contained a higher potential to generate glial-like, s100B+ cells. Therefore, our results suggest brown adipose tissue-derived stem cells would be a more ideal source of neural stem cells than the previous white adipose tissue-derived stem cells.

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