Brown adipose tissue is involved in diet-induced thermogenesis and whole-body fat utilization in healthy humans

M. Hibi*, S. Oishi, M. Matsushita, T. Yoneshiro, T. Yamaguchi, C. Usui, K. Yasunaga, Y. Katsuragi, K. Kubota, S. Tanaka, M. Saito

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Citations (Scopus)


Background/Objectives: Brown adipose tissue (BAT) is a potential therapeutic target against obesity and diabetes through thermogenesis and substrate disposal with cold exposure. The role of BAT in energy metabolism under thermoneutral conditions, however, remains controversial. We assessed the contribution of BAT to energy expenditure (EE), particularly diet-induced thermogenesis (DIT), and substrate utilization in human adults.Methods: In this cross-sectional study, BAT activity was evaluated in 21 men using 18 F-fluoro-2-deoxy- D -glucose positron emission tomography combined with computed tomography (18 F-FDG-PET/CT) after cold exposure (19 °C). The subjects were divided into BAT-positive (n=13) and BAT-negative (n=8) groups according to the 18 F-FDG-PET/CT findings. Twenty-four hour EE, DIT and respiratory quotient were measured using a whole-room indirect calorimeter at 27 °C. Results: Body composition, blood metabolites and 24-h EE did not differ between groups. DIT (%), calculated as DIT divided by total energy intake, however, was significantly higher in the BAT-positive group (BAT-positive: 9.7±2.5%, BAT-negative: 6.5±4.0%, P=0.03). The 24-h respiratory quotient was significantly lower (P=0.03) in the BAT-positive group (0.861±0.027) than in the BAT-negative group (0.889±0.024). Conclusion: DIT and fat utilization were higher in BAT-positive subjects compared to BAT-negative subjects, suggesting that BAT has a physiologic role in energy metabolism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1655-1661
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Nov 1
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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