Brown Adipose Tissue Activation Is Linked to Distinct Systemic Effects on Lipid Metabolism in Humans

Maria Chondronikola, Elena Volpi, Elisabet Børsheim, Craig Porter, Manish K. Saraf, Palam Annamalai, Christina Yfanti, Tony Chao, Daniel Wong, Kosaku Shinoda, Sebastien M. Labbe, Nicholas M. Hurren, Fernardo Cesani, Shingo Kajimura, Labros S. Sidossis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

259 Scopus citations


Recent studies suggest that brown adipose tissue (BAT) plays a role in energy and glucose metabolism in humans. However, the physiological significance of human BAT in lipid metabolism remains unknown. We studied 16 overweight/obese men during prolonged, non-shivering cold and thermoneutral conditions using stable isotopic tracer methodologies in conjunction with hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamps and BAT and white adipose tissue (WAT) biopsies. BAT volume was significantly associated with increased whole-body lipolysis, triglyceride-free fatty acid (FFA) cycling, FFA oxidation, and adipose tissue insulin sensitivity. Functional analysis of BAT and WAT demonstrated the greater thermogenic capacity of BAT compared to WAT, while molecular analysis revealed a cold-induced upregulation of genes involved in lipid metabolism only in BAT. The accelerated mobilization and oxidation of lipids upon BAT activation supports a putative role for BAT in the regulation of lipid metabolism in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1200-1206
Number of pages7
JournalCell metabolism
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 14 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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