Experimental evidence is presented that supports a cell cycle model showing that there are five distinct biological processes involved in proadipocyte differentiation. These include: (a) growth arrest at a distinct state in the G1 phase of the cell cycle; (b) nonterminal differentiation; (c) terminal differentiation; (d) loss of the differentiated phenotype; and (e) reinitiation of cell proliferation. Each of these events is shown to be regulated by specific human plasma components or other physiological factors. At two states designated GD and GD', coupling of growth arrest and differentiation is shown to occur. We propose that these mechanisms for the coupling of growth arrest and differentiation are physiologically significant and mimic the regulatory processes that control stem cell proliferation in vivo.

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