Adipose tissue grows by two mechanisms: hyperplasia (cell number increase) and hypertrophy (cell size increase). Thiazolidinediones are insulin-sensitizing peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma agonists that are known to affect the morphology of adipose tissue.
In this study, adipose cell-size probability distributions were measured in six Zucker fa/fa rats over a period of 24 days, from four weeks of age, using micro-biopsies to obtain subcutaneous (inguinal) fat tissue from the animals. Three of the rats were gavaged daily with rosiglitazone, a thiazolidinedione, and three served as controls. These longitudinal probability distributions were analyzed to obtain the rate of increase in cell-size diameter in rosiglitazone-treated animals, and the hyperplasia induced by treatment quantitatively.
We found that treatment leads to hypertrophy that leads to an approximately linear rate of cell diameter increase (2