Downregulation of the preadipocyte marker Delta-like 1 homologue (Dlk1), an inhibitor of adipogenesis, has been suggested to be a prerequisite for adipogenic differentiation to occur, and low Dlk1 levels are often used to verify adipogenesis. Mouse preadipocytic cell lines such as 3T3-L1, as well as primary derived preadipocytes, are important models to study adipogenic differentiation and obesity. However, in vitro adipogenic differentiation of primary derived preadipocytes remains incomplete, and identification of factors that will improve the adipogenic differentiation process is thus of high value. In this study we show that horse serum fails to improve adipogenic differentiation of mouse preadipocytes (both 3T3-L1 cells and primary derived mouse preadipocytes) as otherwise reported for bone marrow derived adipogenic precursors. Unexpectedly, while Dlk1 levels were indeed decreased using horse serum, this did not correlate with a high degree of adipogenic differentiation. In conclusion, our novel results thus reveal that horse serum clearly is insufficient for adipogenic differentiation of mouse preadipocytes and that low levels of Dlk1 alone are a poor marker of mouse in vitro adipogenesis. We would also like to emphasize that it is very important for the field of cellular differentiation that researchers thoroughly investigate the effect of individual reagents in their protocols. Such data will increase understanding of the limitations and possibilities of individual systems.
Acta Histochemica, 2013, Vol 115, Issue 4, p. 401-406