Fat pads dynamically regulate energy storage capacity under energy excess and deficit. This remodeling process is not completely understood, with controversies regarding differences between fat depots and plasticity of adipose cell number. We previously examined changes of mouse adipose cell-size distributions in epididymal, inguinal, retroperitoneal, and mesenteric fat under both weight gain and loss. With mathematical modeling, we specifically analyzed the recruitment, growth/shrinkage, and loss of adipose cells, including the size dependence of these processes. We found a qualitatively universal adipose tissue remodeling process in all four fat depots: (1) There is continuous recruitment of new cells under weight gain;(2) The growth and shrinkage of larger cells (diameter >50 microns) is proportional to cell surface area;and (3) Cell loss occurs under prolonged weight gain, with larger cells more susceptible. The mathematical model gives a predictive integrative picture of adipose tissue remodeling, and can be used to examine changes in the relative importance of these specific cellular processes in obesity and diabetes. In previous publications, we demonstrated that there appeared to be a periodicity in changes in the cell-size probability distributions by analyzing longitudinal data from two Zucker fatty rats. In that work, we proposed a mathematical model that could give rise to such periodicity, and a prediction of that model was that a high-fat diet may lead to a decrease in the period, relative to chow. Our collaborator (Mathilde Arroyo in Dr. Cushman's laboratory) carried out experiments in Zucker fatty rat, and we have been analyzing the resulting data to test our prediction. It appears that the variability in this new dataset may mask the appearance of any regularity of the form suggested by the prediction. This work is ongoing.

Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Zip Code
Li, Yanjun; Periwal, Vipul; Cushman, Samuel W et al. (2016) Adipose cell hypertrophy precedes the appearance of small adipocytes by 3 days in C57BL/6 mouse upon changing to a high fat diet. Adipocyte 5:81-7
Jo, Junghyo; Guo, Juen; Liu, Teresa et al. (2010) Hypertrophy-driven adipocyte death overwhelms recruitment under prolonged weight gain. Biophys J 99:3535-44
MacKellar, Jennifer; Cushman, Samuel W; Periwal, Vipul (2010) Waves of adipose tissue growth in the genetically obese Zucker fatty rat. PLoS One 5:e8197
Jo, Junghyo; Gavrilova, Oksana; Pack, Stephanie et al. (2009) Hypertrophy and/or Hyperplasia: Dynamics of Adipose Tissue Growth. PLoS Comput Biol 5:e1000324