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 3D illustration of Fat cells or adipose cells

The Development of Standard In Vitro Models for Studying Metabolic Diseases Webinar

January 11, 2024, at 12:00 PM ET


Human adipose tissue is composed of brown and white adipocytes, which play critical roles in nutritional homeostasis, thermoregulation, and endocrine function. White adipocytes are at the center of the growing obesity pandemic, while brown adipocyte dysfunction may contribute to impaired cold tolerance and a decline in cardiometabolic health. To understand brown (BAT) and white (WAT) adipose tissue physiology requires mechanistic experiments at the cellular level; however, limited access to patient-derived adipose tissue or validated adipocyte cell lines hampers these efforts. In this webinar, Dr. Aaron Cypess, an investigator at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will present on the hTERT-immortalized brown (hTERT-hBA; ATCC CRL-4062) and white (hTERT-hWA; ATCC CRL-4063) pre-adipocytes cell lines that his laboratory in collaboration with ATCC have developed and characterized. Dr. Cypess will demonstrate that hTERT-hWA and hTERT-hBA maintain the adrenergic signaling, lipolysis, and thermogenesis typical of primary adipocytes and that these two cell lines are metabolically distinct. Transcriptomics via RNA-seq were consistent with these functional studies and establish a molecular signature for each cell type. This well-characterized pair of immortalized BAT and WAT cells are anticipated to become important models for future physiological, pharmacological, and genetic studies of human adipocyte biology.

Key takeaways:

  • Overview the metabolic and endocrine roles of human adipose tissue
  • Development and characterization of immortalized primary brown and white pre-adipocytes
  • Utility of these cells for studying obesity, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses


Headshot of Aaron Cypess

Aaron M. Cypess, MD, PhD, MMSc

Senior Investigator and Chief, Translational Physiology Section, DEOB, NIDDK, NIH

Dr. Aaron Cypess is a senior investigator at the National Institutes of Health, where his research group uses a combination of clinical trials and basic science to help understand how brown fat works at the levels of the cells and then to translate the information into practical ways to treat people with obesity, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses. Previously, Dr. Cypess was an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, where he investigated the pathogenesis of metabolic diseases. He received his MD from the Joan & Sanford I. Weill Medical College of Cornell University and his MMSc from Harvard Medical School. Dr. Cypess earned his PhD from Rockefeller University where he studied Signal Transduction by the Glucagon Receptor.