Quantification of adipose tissue

This month’s issue will focus on the quantification of adipose tissue in vivo in mice or rats using the SkyScan 1278 microCT system.

It is becoming increasingly important to assess the amount of adipose tissue (fat) in animals in order to characterize its role in not only obesity, but also various metabolic disorders such as insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, or cardiovascular diseases. In vivo microCT is a non-invasive technique that allows for repeated measurements in the same animal, making it possible to follow disease progression and treatment effect in a longitudinal manner. Adipose tissue is composed mostly of adipocytes and its role is to store energy in the form of lipids.
Because these lipids have a chain of carbon atoms, there will be a density difference with the surrounding soft tissue such as the abdominal muscle. This makes it possible to determine the amount of adipose tissue without the use of a contrast agent. Adipose tissue is generally distributed into two main compartments, immediately under the skin on top of the abdominal muscle (subcutaneous adipose tissue) and in the body cavity between the organs (visceral adipose tissue).

With microCT it is not only possible to determine the total amount of adipose tissue, but also discriminate between subcutaneaous and visceral adipose tissue. In this newsletter, we discuss different approaches to quantify different adipose tissue depots. For the analysis of subcutaneous adipose tissue, visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue, and whole body adipose tissue, we refer to:
"MN090 Quantifying subcutaneous adipose tissue in the thorax region of a mouse or rat by in vivo microCT using the SkyScan 1278", "MN091 Quantifying visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue in the abdominal region of a mouse or rat by in vivo microCT using the Skyscan 1278", and "MN092 Quantifying total adipose tissue throughout the body in a mouse or rat by in vivo microCT using the SkyScan 1278", respectively. Each method note explains step by step how to quantify the amount of adipose tissue, determine the thickness distribution, and make 3D models of the adipose tissue on top of the skeletal structure.

Reconstructed cross-section through the abdomen of a mouse with the discrimination between subcutaneous and visceral adipose tissue, scanned by Skyscan 1278.
Surface rendered model of adipose tissue in the thorax region (top), abdominal region with the visceral adipose tissue in yellow (middle), and whole body (bottom) on top of the skeletal structure.

Bruker microCT News

We invite you to attend a webinar on August 3rd on bone imaging and analysis. This webinar will cover the basics of microCT technology and give an overview of the possibilities of microCT in bone imaging and analysis. Register here!