The SGBS cell strain as a model for the in vitro study of obesity and cancer

Emma H Allott, Elizabeth Oliver, Joanne Lysaght, Steven G Gray, John V Reynolds, Helen M Roche, Graham P Pidgeon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


INTRODUCTION: The murine adipocyte cell line 3T3-L1 is well characterised and used widely, while the human pre-adipocyte cell strain, Simpson-Golabi-Behmel Syndrome (SGBS), requires validation for use in human studies. Obesity is currently estimated to account for up to 41 % of the worldwide cancer burden. A human in vitro model system is required to elucidate the molecular mechanisms for this poorly understood association. This work investigates the relevance of the SGBS cell strain for obesity and cancer research in humans.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Pre-adipocyte 3T3-L1 and SGBS were differentiated according to standard protocols. Morphology was assessed by Oil Red O staining. Adipocyte-specific gene expression was measured by qPCR and biochemical function was assessed by glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GPDH) enzyme activity. Differential gene expression in oesophageal adenocarcinoma cell line OE33 following co-culture with SGBS or primary omental human adipocytes was investigated using Human Cancer Profiler qPCR arrays.

RESULTS: During the process of differentiation, SGBS expressed higher levels of adipocyte-specific transcripts and fully differentiated SGBS expressed more similar morphology, transcript levels and biochemical function to primary omental adipocytes, relative to 3T3-L1. Co-culture with SGBS or primary omental adipocytes induced differential expression of genes involved in adhesion (ITGB3), angiogenesis (IGF1, TEK, TNF, VEGFA), apoptosis (GZMA, TERT) and invasion and metastasis (MMP9, TIMP3) in OE33 tumour cells.

CONCLUSIONS: Comparable adipocyte-specific gene expression, biochemical function and a shared induced gene signature in co-cultured OE33 cells indicate that SGBS is a relevant in vitro model for obesity and cancer research in humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)774-82
Number of pages9
JournalClinical & translational oncology : official publication of the Federation of Spanish Oncology Societies and of the National Cancer Institute of Mexico
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • 3T3-L1 Cells
  • Adipocytes/cytology
  • Adipogenesis/genetics
  • Animals
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac/pathology
  • Cell Line
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Genetic Diseases, X-Linked/pathology
  • Gigantism/pathology
  • Heart Defects, Congenital/pathology
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability/pathology
  • Mice
  • Microarray Analysis
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Neoplasms/etiology
  • Obesity/etiology
  • Primary Cell Culture


Dive into the research topics of 'The SGBS cell strain as a model for the in vitro study of obesity and cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this