A diet high in fat stimulates adipocyte proliferation in older (22 month) rats

Jill R. Ellis, Roger B. McDonald, Judith S. Stern

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23 Scopus citations


The effect of a high fat diet in stimulating adipocyte proliferation, as measured by the incorporation of [3H]-thymidine into fat cell DNA, was studied in 22-month-old female Sprague-Dawley rats. Rats were fed a low fat (n = 10) or a high fat diet (n = 9) for a total of six days. On days 4 and 5 of dietary manipulation, rats were injected with 80 μCi/100 g body weight of [3H]-thymidine. Rats were continued on their respective diets for one more day, starved for 72 h and then refed a stock diet for three weeks in order to increase turnover of stroma cells, thus diluting the specific activity of stromal DNA with minimal effect on specific activity of fat cell DNA. The diet groups did not differ significantly with respect to body masses, food intake, parametrial (PARA) and retroperitoneal (RP) depot masses, cell number or cell size. The specific activity of DNA in both PARA and RP depots was greater in the adipocyte than in the stromavascular fraction. Specific activity of fat cells was significantly greater from rats fed the high fat than the low fat diet in both PARA and RP depots. Radioautography of adipose tissue confirmed that there was a greater percentage of adipocyte nuclei labeled in the rats fed the high fat diet. Also, there were few labeled nuclei found in stroma cells. In conclusion, older female rats increased adipocyte proliferation when fed a high fat diet.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-148
Number of pages8
JournalExperimental Gerontology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1990


  • adipocyte proliferation
  • aging
  • fat feeding
  • obesity
  • rats

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Medicine(all)


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