PD-L1 is an activation-independent marker of brown adipocytes

Jessica R. Ingram, Michael Dougan, Mohammad Rashidian, Marko Knoll, Edmund J. Keliher, Sarah Garrett, Scott Garforth, Olga S. Blomberg, Camilo Espinosa, Atul Bhan, Steven C. Almo, Ralph Weissleder, Harvey Lodish, Stephanie K. Dougan, Hidde L. Ploegh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) is expressed on a number of immune and cancer cells, where it can downregulate antitumor immune responses. Its expression has been linked to metabolic changes in these cells. Here we develop a radiolabeled camelid single-domain antibody (anti-PD-L1 VHH) to track PD-L1 expression by immuno-positron emission tomography (PET). PET-CT imaging shows a robust and specific PD-L1 signal in brown adipose tissue (BAT). We confirm expression of PD-L1 on brown adipocytes and demonstrate that signal intensity does not change in response to cold exposure or β-adrenergic activation. This is the first robust method of visualizing murine brown fat independent of its activation state.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number647
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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