Adipose Tissue Analysis Toolkit (ATAT) for automated analysis of adipocyte size and extracellular matrix in white adipose tissue

Jacob J. Robino, Alexander P. Plekhanov, Qingzhang Zhu, Michael D. Jensen, Philipp E. Scherer, Charles T. Roberts, Oleg Varlamov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The pathological expansion of white adipose tissue (WAT) in obesity involves adipocyte hypertrophy accompanied by expansion of the collagen-rich pericellular extracellular matrix (ECM) and development of crown-like structures (CLS). Traditionally, WAT morphology is assessed through immunohistochemical analysis of WAT sections. However, manual analysis of large histological sections is time-consuming, and the available digital tools for analyzing adipocyte size and pericellular ECM are limited. To address this gap, the authors developed the Adipose Tissue Analysis Toolkit (ATAT), an ImageJ plugin facilitating analysis of adipocyte size, WAT ECM, and CLS. Methods and Results: ATAT utilizes local and image-level differentials in pixel intensity to independently threshold image background, distinguishing adipocyte-free tissue without user input. It accurately captures adipocytes in histological sections stained with common dyes and automates the analysis of adipocyte cross-sectional area, total-field, and localized region-of-interest ECM. ATAT allows fully automated batch analysis of histological images using default or user-defined adipocyte detection parameters. Conclusions: ATAT provides several advantages over existing WAT image analysis tools, enabling high-throughput analyses of adipocyte-specific parameters and facilitating the assessment of ECM changes associated with WAT remodeling due to weight changes and other pathophysiological alterations that affect WAT function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)723-732
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Adipose Tissue Analysis Toolkit (ATAT) for automated analysis of adipocyte size and extracellular matrix in white adipose tissue'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this