Acta Biomater 2013 Mar 9;9(3):5609-20. Epub 2012 Nov 9.
O'Brien Institute, Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia.
The ability to generate controlled amounts of adipose tissue would greatly ease the burden on hospitals for reconstructive surgery. We have previously shown that a tissue engineering chamber containing a vascular pedicle was capable of forming new fat; however, further refinements are required to enhance fat formation. The development and maintenance of engineered adipose tissue requires a suitable source of growth factors and a suitable scaffold. A hydrogel derived from adipose tissue may fulfil this need. Subcutaneous fat was processed into a thermosensitive hydrogel we refer to as adipose-derived matrix (ADM). Protein analysis revealed high levels of basement membrane proteins, collagens and detectable levels of growth factors. Adipose-derived stem cells exposed to this hydrogel differentiated into adipocytes with >90% efficiency and in vivo testing in rats showed significant signs of adipogenesis after 8 weeks. ADM's adipogenic properties combined with its simple gelation, relatively long shelf life and its tolerance to multiple freeze-thaw cycles, makes it a promising candidate for adipose engineering applications.