Mapping of human brown adipose tissue in lean and obese young men.
ABSTRACT: Human brown adipose tissue (BAT) can be activated to increase glucose uptake and energy expenditure, making it a potential target for treating obesity and metabolic disease. Data on the functional and anatomic characteristics of BAT are limited, however. In 20 healthy young men [12 lean, mean body mass index (BMI) 23.2 ± 1.9 kg/m2; 8 obese, BMI 34.8 ± 3.3 kg/m2] after 5 h of tolerable cold exposure, we measured BAT volume and activity by 18F-labeled fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computerized tomography (PET/CT). Obese men had less activated BAT than lean men (mean, 130 vs. 334 mL) but more fat in BAT-containing depots (mean, 1,646 vs. 855 mL) with a wide range (0.1-71%) in the ratio of activated BAT to inactive fat between individuals. Six anatomic regions had activated BAT-cervical, supraclavicular, axillary, mediastinal, paraspinal, and abdominal-with 67 ± 20% of all activated BAT concentrated in a continuous fascial layer comprising the first three depots in the upper torso. These nonsubcutaneous fat depots amounted to 1.5% of total body mass (4.3% of total fat mass), and up to 90% of each depot could be activated BAT. The amount and activity of BAT was significantly influenced by region of interest selection methods, PET threshold criteria, and PET resolutions. The present study suggests that active BAT can be found in specific adipose depots in adult humans, but less than one-half of the fat in these depots is stimulated by acute cold exposure, demonstrating a previously underappreciated thermogenic potential.
Project description:UNLABELLED:In animals, defective brown adipogenesis leads to bone loss. Whether brown adipose tissue (BAT) mass relates to bone mineral density (BMD) in humans is unclear. We determined the relationship between BAT mass and BMD by cold-stimulated positron-emission tomography (PET) and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) in healthy volunteers. Higher BAT mass was associated with higher BMD in healthy women, but not in men, independent of age and body composition. INTRODUCTION:Contrary to the traditional belief that BAT is present only in infants, recent studies revealed significant depots of BAT present in adult humans. In animals, defective brown adipogenesis leads to bone loss. While white adipose tissue mass is a known determinant of BMD in humans, the relationship between BAT and BMD in humans is unclear. We thus examined the relationship between BAT and BMD in healthy adults. METHODS:BAT volume (ml) and activity (standard uptake value) were determined by 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose PET after overnight mild cold exposure at 19 °C, and BMD was determined by DXA. RESULTS:Among 24 healthy adults (age 28±1 years, F=10), BAT volumes were 82.4±99.5 ml in women and 49.7±54.5 ml in men. Women manifested significantly higher BAT activity, by 9.4±8.1% (p=0.03), than men. BAT volume correlated positively with total and spine BMD (r2=0.40 and 0.49, respectively, p<0.02) in women and remained a significant predictor after adjustment for age, fat, and lean body mass (p<0.05). Total and spine BMD were higher in women who harbored visually detectable BAT on PET images than those without by 11±2% (p=0.02) and 22±2% (p<0.01), respectively. No associations were observed between BAT parameters and BMD in men. CONCLUSIONS:This study demonstrated higher BMD among healthy women with more abundant BAT, independent of age and other body compositional parameters. This was not observed in men. The data suggest that brown adipogenesis may be physiologically related to modulation of bone density.
Project description:Recent work in rodents has demonstrated that basal activity of the local sympathetic nervous system is critical for maintaining brown adipocyte phenotypes in classic brown adipose tissue (BAT) and white adipose tissue (WAT). Accordingly, we sought to assess the relationship between sympathetic innervation and cold-induced activation of BAT and WAT in lean young adults. Methods: Twenty adult lean normal subjects (10 women and 10 men; mean age ± SD, 23.3 ± 3.8 y; body mass index, 23.7 ± 2.5 kg/m2) underwent 11C-meta-hydroxyephedrin (11C-HED) and 15O-water PET imaging at rest and after exposure to mild cold (16°C) temperature. In addition, 18F-FDG images were obtained during the cold stress condition to assess cold-activated BAT mass. Subjects were divided into 2 groups (high BAT and low BAT) based on the presence of 18F-FDG tracer uptake. Blood flow and 11C-HED retention index (RI, an indirect measure of sympathetic innervation) were calculated from dynamic PET scans at the location of BAT and WAT. Whole-body daily energy expenditure (DEE) during rest and cold stress was measured by indirect calorimetry. Tissue level oxygen consumption (MRO2) was determined and used to calculate the contribution of cold-activated BAT and WAT to daily DEE. Results:18F-FDG uptake identified subjects with high and low levels of cold-activated BAT mass (high BAT, 96 ± 37 g; low-BAT, 16 ± 4 g). 11C-HED RI under thermoneutral conditions significantly predicted 18F-FDG uptake during cold stress (R2 = 0.68, P < 0.01). In contrast to the significant increase of 11C-HED RI during cold in BAT (2.42 ± 0.85 vs. 3.43 ± 0.93, P = 0.02), cold exposure decreased the 11C-HED RI in WAT (0.44 ± 0.22 vs. 0.41 ± 0.18) as a consequence of decreased perfusion (1.22 ± 0.20 vs. 1.12 ± 0.16 mL/100 g/min). The contribution of WAT to whole-body DEE was approximately 150 kcal/d at rest (149 ± 52 kcal/d), which decreased to approximately 100 kcal/d during cold (102 ± 47 kcal/d). Conclusion: The level of sympathetic innervation, as determined by 11C-HED RI, can predict levels of functional BAT. Overall, blood flow is the best independent predictor of 11C-HED RI and 18F-FDG uptake across thermoneutral and cold conditions. In contrast to BAT, cold stress reduces blood flow and 18F-FDG uptake in subcutaneous WAT, indicating that the physiologic response is to reduce heat loss rather than to generate heat.
Project description:Although it has been believed that brown adipose tissue (BAT) depots disappear shortly after the perinatal period in humans, PET imaging using the glucose analog (18)F-FDG has shown unequivocally the existence of functional BAT in adult humans, suggesting that many humans retain some functional BAT past infancy. The objective of this study was to determine to what extent BAT thermogenesis is activated in adults during cold stress and to establish the relationship between BAT oxidative metabolism and (18)F-FDG tracer uptake.Twenty-five healthy adults (15 women and 10 men; mean age ± SD, 30 ± 7 y) underwent triple-oxygen scans (H2(15)O, C(15)O, and (15)O2) as well as measurements of daily energy expenditure (DEE; kcal/d) both at rest and after exposure to mild cold (15.5°C [60°F]) using indirect calorimetry. The subjects were divided into 2 groups (high BAT and low BAT) based on the presence or absence of (18)F-FDG tracer uptake (standardized uptake value [SUV] > 2) in cervical-supraclavicular BAT. Blood flow and oxygen extraction fraction (OEF) were calculated from dynamic PET scans at the location of BAT, muscle, and white adipose tissue. Regional blood oxygen saturation was determined by near-infrared spectroscopy. The total energy expenditure during rest and mild cold stress was measured by indirect calorimetry. Tissue-level metabolic rate of oxygen (MRO2) in BAT was determined and used to calculate the contribution of activated BAT to DEE.The mass of activated BAT was 59.1 ± 17.5 g (range, 32-85 g) in the high-BAT group (8 women and 1 man; mean age, 29.6 ± 5.5 y) and 2.2 ± 3.6 g (range, 0-9.3 g) in the low-BAT group (9 men and 7 women; mean age, 31.4 ± 10 y). Corresponding maximal SUVs were significantly higher in the high-BAT group than in the low-BAT group (10.7 ± 3.9 vs. 2.1 ± 0.7, P = 0.01). Blood flow values were significantly higher in the high-BAT group than in the low-BAT group for BAT (12.9 ± 4.1 vs. 5.9 ± 2.2 mL/100 g/min, P = 0.03) and white adipose tissue (7.2 ± 3.4 vs. 5.7 ± 2.3 mL/100 g/min, P = 0.03) but were similar for muscle (4.4 ± 1.9 vs. 3.9 ± 1.7 mL/100 g/min). Moreover, OEF in BAT was similar in the 2 groups (0.51 ± 0.17 in high-BAT group vs. 0.47 ± 0.18 in low-BAT group, P = 0.39). During mild cold stress, calculated MRO2 values in BAT increased from 0.97 ± 0.53 to 1.42 ± 0.68 mL/100 g/min (P = 0.04) in the high-BAT group and were significantly higher than those determined in the low-BAT group (0.40 ± 0.28 vs. 0.51 ± 0.23, P = 0.67). The increase in DEE associated with BAT oxidative metabolism was highly variable in the high-BAT group, with an average of 3.2 ± 2.4 kcal/d (range, 1.9-4.6 kcal/d) at rest, and increased to 6.3 ± 3.5 kcal/d (range, 4.0-9.9 kcal/d) during exposure to mild cold. Although BAT accounted for only a small fraction of the cold-induced increase in DEE, such increases were not observed in subjects lacking BAT.Mild cold-induced thermogenesis in BAT accounts for 15-25 kcal/d in subjects with relatively large BAT depots. Thus, although the presence of active BAT is correlated with cold-induced energy expenditure, direct measurement of MRO2 indicates that BAT is a minor source of thermogenesis in humans.
Project description:Several lines of evidence suggest that novel pharmacological approaches aimed at converting white adipose tissue (WAT) into brown adipose tissue (BAT) may represent an effective therapeutic strategy for obesity and related disorders. ((18))F-fluorodeoxyglucose ((18)F-FDG) is the only positron emission tomography (PET) tracer commonly used to study BAT function, and so far no functional tools have been described to investigate in vivo white-to-brown fat conversion. In this report, we show that the PET tracer (11)C-meta-hydroxyephedrine ((11)C-MHED, a norepinephrine analogue) is a useful tool to investigate the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activity in BAT of lean and dietary obese mice. Moreover, we demonstrate that (11)C-MHED is a specific marker of the SNS-mediated thermogenesis in typical BAT depots, and that this tracer can detect in vivo WAT to BAT conversion.
Project description:Fatty acids (FA) are important substrates for brown adipose tissue (BAT) metabolism, however, it remains unclear whether there exists a difference in FA metabolism of BAT between lean and obese healthy humans. In this study we evaluated supraclavicular BAT fatty acid uptake (FAU) along with blood perfusion in lean and obese subjects during cold exposure and at room temperature using positron emission tomography (PET)/computed tomography (CT). Additionally, tissue samples were taken from supraclavicular region (typical BAT region) from a subset of subjects to evaluate histological presence of BAT. Non-shivering cold stress elevated FAU and perfusion of BAT in lean, but not in obese subjects. Lean subjects had greater FAU in BAT compared to obese subjects during cold exposure and interestingly also at room temperature. The higher BAT FAU was related to younger age and several indicators of superior systemic metabolic health. The subjects who manifested BAT histologically had several folds higher BAT FAU compared to subjects with no such histological manifestation. Together, obese subjects have less active tissue in supraclavicular region both in basal and cold-activated state and the FA metabolism of BAT is blunted in obesity.
Project description:Brown adipose tissue (BAT) recently emerged as a potential therapeutic target in the treatment of obesity and associated disorders due to its fat-burning capacity. The current gold standard in assessing BAT activity is [18F]FDG PET-CT scan, which has severe limitations including radiation exposure, being expensive, and being labor-intensive. Therefore, indirect markers are needed of human BAT activity and volume.We aimed to identify metabolites in serum that are associated with BAT volume and activity in men.We assessed 163 metabolites in fasted serum of a cohort of twenty-two healthy lean men (age 24.1 (21.7-26.6) years, BMI 22.1 (20.5-23.4) kg/m2) who subsequently underwent a cold-induced [18F]FDG PET-CT scan to assess BAT volume and activity. In addition, we included three replication cohorts consisting of in total thirty-seven healthy lean men that were similar with respect to age and BMI compared to the discovery cohort.After correction for multiple testing, fasting concentrations of lysophosphatidylcholine-acyl (LysoPC-acyl) C16:1, LysoPC-acyl C16:0 and phosphatidylcholine-diacyl C32:1 showed strong positive correlations with BAT volume (?=?116 (85-148) mL, R2?=?0.81, p?=?4.6?×?10-7; ??=?79 (93-119) mL, R2?=?0.57, p?=?5.9?×?10-4 and ?=?91 (40-141) mL, R2?=?0.52, p?=?1.0?×?10-3, respectively) as well as with BAT activity (?=?0.20 (0.11-0.29) g/mL, R2?=?0.59, p?=?1.9?×?10-4; ??=?0.15 (0.06-0.23) g/mL, R2?=?0.47, p?=?2.0?×?10-3 and ?=?0.13 (0.01-0.25) g/mL, R2?=?0.28, p?=?0.04, respectively). When tested in three independent replication cohorts (total n?=?37), the association remained significant between LysoPC-acyl C16:0 and BAT activity in a pooled analysis (?=?0.15 (0.07-0.23) g/mL, R2?=?0.08, p?=?4.2?×?10-4).LysoPC-acyl C16:0 is associated with BAT activity in men. Since BAT is regarded as a promising tool in the battle against obesity and related disorders, the identification of such a noninvasive marker is highly relevant.
Project description:The discovery of brown adipose tissue (BAT) in adult humans presents a new therapeutic target for metabolic disease; however, little is known about the regulation of human BAT. Chronic glucocorticoid excess causes obesity in humans, and glucocorticoids suppress BAT activation in rodents. We tested whether glucocorticoids regulate BAT activity in humans. In vivo, the glucocorticoid prednisolone acutely increased (18)fluorodeoxyglucose uptake by BAT (measured using PET/CT) in lean healthy men during mild cold exposure (16°C-17°C). In addition, prednisolone increased supraclavicular skin temperature (measured using infrared thermography) and energy expenditure during cold, but not warm, exposure in lean subjects. In vitro, glucocorticoids increased isoprenaline-stimulated respiration and UCP-1 in human primary brown adipocytes, but substantially decreased isoprenaline-stimulated respiration and UCP-1 in primary murine brown and beige adipocytes. The highly species-specific regulation of BAT function by glucocorticoids may have important implications for the translation of novel treatments to activate BAT to improve metabolic health.
Project description:To maintain core body temperature in cold conditions, mammals activate a complex multi-organ metabolic response for heat production. White adipose tissue (WAT) primarily functions as an energy reservoir, while brown adipose tissue (BAT) is activated during cold exposure to generate heat from nutrients. Both BAT and WAT undergo specific metabolic changes during acute cold exposure. Here, we use an untargeted metabolomics approach to characterize the initial metabolic response to cold exposure in multiple adipose tissue depots in mice. Results demonstrate dramatically distinct metabolic responses during cold exposure in BAT and WAT. Amino acids, nucleotide pathways, and metabolites involved in redox regulation were greatly affected 4?hours post-exposure in BAT, while no polar metabolites were observed to significantly change in WAT depots up to 6?hours post exposure. Lipid metabolism was activated early (2?hours) in both BAT and the subcutaneous WAT depots, with the most striking change being observed in the modulation of diglyceride and monoglyceride levels in BAT. Overall, these data provide a timeline of global thermogenic metabolism in adipose depots during acute cold exposure. We have highlighted differences in visceral and subcutaneous WAT thermogenic metabolism and demonstrate the distinct metabolism of BAT during cold exposure.
Project description:Current understanding of in vivo human brown adipose tissue (BAT) physiology is limited by a reliance on positron emission tomography (PET)/computed tomography (CT) scanning, which has measured exogenous glucose and fatty acid uptake but not quantified endogenous substrate utilization by BAT. Six lean, healthy men underwent 18fluorodeoxyglucose-PET/CT scanning to localize BAT so microdialysis catheters could be inserted in supraclavicular BAT under CT guidance and in abdominal subcutaneous white adipose tissue (WAT). Arterial and dialysate samples were collected during warm (?25°C) and cold exposure (?17°C), and blood flow was measured by 133xenon washout. During warm conditions, there was increased glucose uptake and lactate release and decreased glycerol release by BAT compared with WAT. Cold exposure increased blood flow, glycerol release, and glucose and glutamate uptake only by BAT. This novel use of microdialysis reveals that human BAT is metabolically active during warm conditions. BAT activation substantially increases local lipolysis but also utilization of other substrates such as glutamate.
Project description:PURPOSE:Brown adipose tissue (BAT) has emerged as a potential target to combat obesity and diabetes, but novel strategies to activate BAT are needed. Adenosine and A2A receptor (A2AR) agonism activate BAT in rodents, and endogenous adenosine is released locally in BAT as a by-product of noradrenaline, but physiological data from humans is lacking. The purpose of this pilot study was to investigate the effects of exogenous adenosine on human BAT perfusion, and to determine the density of A2ARs in human BAT in vivo for the first time, using PET/CT imaging. METHODS:Healthy, lean men (n?=?10) participated in PET/CT imaging with two radioligands. Perfusion of BAT, white adipose tissue (WAT) and muscle was quantified with [15O]H2O at baseline, during cold exposure and during intravenous administration of adenosine. A2AR density of the tissues was quantified with [11C]TMSX at baseline and during cold exposure. RESULTS:Adenosine increased the perfusion of BAT even more than cold exposure (baseline 8.3?±?4.5, cold 19.6?±?9.3, adenosine 28.6?±?7.9 ml/100 g/min, p?<?0.01). Distribution volume of [11C]TMSX in BAT was significantly lower during cold exposure compared to baseline. In cold, low [11C]TMSX binding coincided with high concentrations of noradrenaline. CONCLUSIONS:Adenosine administration caused a maximal perfusion effect in human supraclavicular BAT, indicating increased oxidative metabolism. Cold exposure increased noradrenaline concentrations and decreased the density of A2AR available for radioligand binding in BAT, suggesting augmented release of endogenous adenosine. Our results show that adenosine and A2AR are relevant for activation of human BAT, and A2AR provides a future target for enhancing BAT metabolism.