Autografting of fat pads has a long history in plastic and reconstructive surgery for augmentation of lost soft tissue. However, the results are disappointing because of absorption of the grafts with time. The fate of transplanted fat is linked to adipose precursor cells distributed widely in connective tissues. Adipocyte precursor cells can proliferate and mature into adipocytes even in the adult body depending on microenvironment. When reconstituted basement membrane, Matrigel, supplemented with more than 1 ng/ml bFGF was injected s.c. into 6-week-old mice, the neovascularization induced within 1 week was followed by migration of endogenous adipose precursor cells, and a clearly visible fat pad was formed. The pad grew until 3 weeks after the injection and persisted for at least 10 weeks. Such de novo adipogenesis was induced reproducibly by s.c. injection of Matrigel and bFGF over the chest, lateral abdomen, or head. Adipogenesis could be induced even in ear cartilage or in muscle. Thus, our results demonstrated that an abundant population of adipose precursor cells is distributed widely in connective tissues of the adult body and that they migrate into the neovascularized plug of Matrigel for proliferation and maturation. These results suggest a technique of augmenting lost soft tissue in plastic and reconstructive surgery
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