eCM (Eur Cell Mater / e Cells & Materials) eCM Open Access Scientific Journal
 ISSN:1473-2262         NLM:100973416 (link)         DOI:10.22203/eCM

2023   Volume No 46 – pages 171-194

Title: Designer fat cells: adipogenic differentiation of CRISPR-Cas9 genome-engineered induced pluripotent stem cells

Authors:  EV Ely, AT Kapinski, SG Paradi, R Tang, F Guilak, KH Collins

Address: Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA

E-mail: Kelsey.collins at

Abstract: Adipose tissue is an active endocrine organ that can signal bidirectionally to many tissues and organ systems in the body. With obesity, adipose tissue can serve as a source of low-level inflammation that contributes to various co-morbidities and damage to downstream effector tissues. The ability to synthesize genetically engineered adipose tissue could have critical applications in studying adipokine signaling and the use of adipose tissue for novel therapeutic strategies. This study aimed to develop a method for non-viral adipogenic differentiation of genome-edited murine induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and to test the ability of such cells to engraft in mice in vivo. Designer adipocytes were created from iPSCs, which can be readily genetically engineered using CRISPR-Cas9 to knock out or insert individual genes of interest. As a model system for adipocyte-based drug delivery, an existing iPSC cell line that transcribes interleukin 1 receptor antagonist under the endogenous macrophage chemoattractant protein-1 promoter was tested for adipogenic capabilities under these same differentiation conditions. To understand the role of various adipocyte subtypes and their impact on health and disease, an efficient method was devised for inducing browning and whitening of iPSC-derived adipocytes in culture. Finally, to study the downstream effects of designer adipocytes in vivo, we transplanted the designer adipocytes into fat-free lipodystrophic mice as a model system for studying adipose signaling in different models of disease or repair. This novel translational tissue engineering and regenerative medicine platform provides an innovative approach to studying the role of adipose interorgan communication in various conditions.

Keywords: Obesity, adipocyte differentiation, adipose tissue, functional adipocytes, adipokine secretion, cell-based therapies, tissue engineering.

Publication date: December 29th 2023

Article download: Pages 171-194 (PDF file)

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