In the last 20 years increasing interest has been devoted to the investigation of white adipose tissue (WAT) because hypo- or hyperfunction of WAT is involved in the pathogenesis of obesity and other pathologies. The investigation and discrimination of different characteristics in adipose tissues by means of spectroscopic techniques appears as a topic of current interest, also in view of possible medical-technological applications. The aim of this work was to establish micro-Raman spectroscopy as a tool for the characterization of mammals fat tissue. After preliminary tests aimed at defining a suitable sample preparation protocol, Raman spectra of WAT specimens excised from mice of different ages were recorded in the energy range 750-3,350 cm(-1). Quantitative values of the unsaturation index were obtained through the calibration with HR-NMR spectra of lipid extracts. Raman spectroscopy detected a sharp increase in the unsaturation index between 22 and 30 days of age in close correspondence with the weaning of mice (21 days). The present results show that Raman spectroscopy is an inexpensive, fast and robust technique to analyze the unsaturation index of mammals fat tissues that could be routinely used in bioptic samples.
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