Adipogenesis: Usefulness of in vitro and in vivo experimental models

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The use of experimental models is the foundation of experimental biology, so it is important to know how much the models can tell us about actual animals. Inconsistent or contradictory results from in vitro models are often associated with the perception that a particular model or results are somehow wrong and therefore cannot tell us anything important about how an animal works. In fact, in vitro conditions do not create new biology. Differences between in vitro and in vivo behavior can only result from the actual cellular repertoire, which provides a powerful tool to uncover new information. Adipose tissue research provides a useful context for examining this issue because the regulation of adipose growth and metabolism has important economic implications for livestock production. Examples are discussed in which either excess skepticism or narrow interpretation of results slowed progress toward our current understanding of adipose biology. Similarly, contemporary examples using genomics are used to suggest that large inconsistencies are still apparent with in vitro methods. Careful consideration of these inconsistencies may provide new insights.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)905-915
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2004


  • Disheveled
  • Gene Expression
  • Growth Hormone
  • Preadipocyte
  • Sprouty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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