Published online Nov 26, 2015. doi: 10.4252/wjsc.v7.i10.1202
Peer-review started: January 22, 2015
First decision: March 6, 2015
Revised: September 22, 2015
Accepted: October 12, 2015
Article in press: October 13, 2015
Published online: November 26, 2015
The identification of an ideal cell source for tissue regeneration remains a challenge in the stem cell field. The ability of progeny cells to differentiate into other cell types is important for the processes of tissue reconstruction and tissue engineering and has clinical, biochemical or molecular implications. The adaptation of stem cells from adipose tissue for use in regenerative medicine has created a new role for adipocytes. Mature adipocytes can easily be isolated from adipose cell suspensions and allowed to dedifferentiate into lipid-free multipotent cells, referred to as dedifferentiated fat (DFAT) cells. Compared to other adult stem cells, the DFAT cells have unique advantages in their abundance, ease of isolation and homogeneity. Under proper condition in vitro and in vivo, the DFAT cells have exhibited adipogenic, osteogenic, chondrogenic, cardiomyogenc, angiogenic, myogenic, and neurogenic potentials. In this review, we first discuss the phenomena of dedifferentiation and transdifferentiation of cells, and then dedifferentiation of adipocytes in particular. Understanding the dedifferentiation process itself may contribute to our knowledge of normal growth processes, as well as mechanisms of disease. Second, we highlight new developments in DFAT cell culture and summarize the current understanding of DFAT cell properties. The unique features of DFAT cells are promising for clinical applications such as tissue regeneration.
Core tip: Multipotent dedifferentiated fat (DFAT) cells provide evidence of plasticity in adipocytes. The newly established DFAT cells exhibit vigorous proliferation and multipotent abilities with advantages over other adult stem cells. Modified culture methods reduce the risk of contamination by cells from the stromal vascular fraction to a minimum. In in vitro and/or in vivo experiments have revealed adipogenic, osteogenic, chondrogenic, myogenic, angiogenic and neourogenic potentials in DFAT cells. Moreover, the DFAT cells express embryonic stem cell markers and are similar to induced pluripotent stem cells in certain physiological aspects. Based on the abundance, ease of preparation, homogeneity, and multi-lineage potential, the DFAT cells are uniquely suited for regenerative medicine.