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Storage of Adipose Tissue - (Jan/05/2014 )

Hey everyone,

does anyone know if and how I can store fresh adipose tissue from a surgery?
We usually store it in a refrigerator (4°C), but then one has to use it within +/- 48 hours before it "expires".
As I do co-culture assays with Fat + Keratinocytes (for 7 days), and the fat survives in it, I thought one might be able to store the adipose tissue for longer timespans when immerged in culture medium and kept in the incubator.
Does anyone know if that actually works? How does it affect the metabolism and products secreted by the adipocytes? (I have to study the influence of adipocyte-secreted factors onto keratinocytes) Which medium should I use?

Thank you,


I can't talk specifically about fat cells, but in general for all tissue samples that you want to culture, you need to do this as soon as possible after collection.  The longer you leave it, the poorer and the more altered the cells you get out will be.


Storing the tissue in the incubator at 37 might be OK, but this will depend on the thickness of the tissue - the medium won't penetrate very well over any distance greater than about 1 mm, and the increased rate of metabolism at 37 will mean that the tissue is more likely to die if not kept under ideal conditions.  For reference, you might want to look at articles about organ transplants (kidneys, hearts, lungs etc.) and how they are stored when transported - I think you will find that they are usually kept as cold as possible without freezing.


Media for fat tissue - I would probably start with a DMEM or perhaps RPMI based mix supplemented with 20% FBS and L-glutamine.  You could probably add non-essential amino acids in too.  Have a look on the ATCC ( website for adipose lines and see which media they use.


I actually have started a company ( that does exactly this procedure for individuals and doctors wanting to store stem cells and/or tissue for reconstruction purposes.  Adipose tissue should be stored at 4-22C for no more than 36h before use or banking.  Ideally the tissue can be frozen and banked in liquid nitrogen until needed without loss of cell numbers, viability or function.  We have used such banked samples for both reconstructive and regenerative applications without problems.

our company (Cell Applications, Inc.) offers specialized medium for adipocytes (preadipocyte growth and/or differentiation media).

Feel free to check here:

We also offer primary human preadipocytes and differentiated adipocytes that could be useful for your research.

Good luck!



thanks to everyone for your replies!

Well I think there is no other option for storing the adipose tissue then but the refrigerator... Because I need the "whole tissue" and don't isolate adipocytes from it.

Thank you all very much,