The effects of hypophysectomy, which results in decreased fat pad weight, fat cell number, and new fat cell formation, on preadipocyte replication were examined. Perirenal and epididymal preadipocytes were cultured from hypophysectomized, sham-operated and unoperated 3-month-old rats. In cloned preadipocytes, hypophysectomy resulted in a 19% decrease in cloning efficiency and a 60% reduction in cell number after 3 weeks in culture. Perirenal cells underwent more extensive replication than epididymal cells. The mechanism of reduced replication following hypophysectomy differed from that of donor site: hypophysectomy resulted in an increased percentage of cells which underwent 2 or fewer population doublings at the expense of cells capable of more than 2 doublings. However, donor site had little effect specifically on these slowly replicating preadipocytes; rather, perirenal preadipocytes underwent more extensive replication than epididymal cells because of the higher percentage of preadipocytes capable of 13 or more doublings in perirenal fat pads. Hypophysectomy did not result in decreased differentiation of preadipocytes. These observations are in accord with the hypothesis that hypophysectomy reduces fat cell number in maturing rats partly through an effect on preadipocyte replicative capacity. Additionally, it seems that more than one form of preadipocyte exists, the various forms having differing susceptibilities to factors such as pituitary function and anatomic site.
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