Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Humans have three times more brown body fat

01.03.2017

Compared to white fat, brown body fat burns through energy at an extraordinary rate. However, until now the proportion of brown fat in humans was thought to be quite small. Now a study conducted by researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has shown: The quantity of brown fat in humans is three times greater than previously known. As a consequence, new obesity and diabetes drugs that activate brown adipose tissue are expected to be more effective.

For the study, published in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine, nearly 3,000 PET scans of 1644 patients were analyzed. PET is an acronym for positron emission tomography, a method widely used in oncology. PET scans enable the visualization of metabolic activity in the body. Since a tumor often has a different energy metabolism to healthy tissue, PET scans can be used to demonstrate the presence of metastases.


The two scientists Tobias Fromme (l.) and Carlos Gerngross revealed that some persons have an easier time activating their brown fat, or even have more of it.

Photo: TUM/ Astrid Eckert

“A byproduct of PET scans is that they allow us to see active brown adipose tissue,” according to Dr Tobias Fromme from the Else-Kröner-Fresenius Center at the Technical University of Munich — “brown adipose tissue absorbs lots of sugar, and we can observe this activity through the scans.” For example, it is conceivable that a drug could reduce excessive blood sugar levels in diabetics by increasing the activity of the brown fat.

Similarly, it is conceivable that patients with obesity could use the high rate of energy combustion through brown fat to melt away their excess weight — at least to a certain extent. “In any event, the outlook for the efficacy of drugs in brown adipose tissue can be adjusted upwards,” said the researcher.

Some people activate brown body fat more than others

The analysis of the PET scans also revealed that some groups of persons have an easier time activating their brown fat than others, or even have more of it in the first place. As several previous studies have already shown, women more frequently have active brown fat than men. Similarly, thinner and younger persons have larger proportions of brown fat. Furthermore, brown fat does not react with the same level of activity in overweight individuals or in the elderly. “However, active brown fat occurs with far greater frequency in about five percent of patients than in the general population,” said Fromme — “in these patients, 50% of the scans showed these active fatty tissue proportions.”

The researcher suggested that this may point to a possible explanation for the phenomenon that some persons seem to gain weight after only one extra piece of cake, while others can gorge on sweets without gaining at all — different body weights despite having the same diet. “Ultimately, with medication that activates brown adipose tissue, we must anticipate that some groups of people are likely to benefit from an additional activation of brown fat more than others,” the author of the study explained. “So far, we don’t know the causes for a particular individual to have especially active brown fat.”

A newly discovered factor may prove key to solving this riddle: The researchers showed for the first time that brown fat activity is affected by a variable known as creatinine clearance, which is related to renal function. “Further basic research is still needed,” said Fromme” — but one hypothesis is that there may be signaling substances that affect both brown fat and the kidneys.”

Publication:

Carlos Gerngroß, Johanna Schretter, Martin Klingenspor, Markus Schwaiger and Tobias Fromme: Active brown fat during 18FDG-PET/CT imaging defines a patient group with characteristic traits and an in-creased probability of brown fat redirection, Journal of Nuclear Medicine 01/2017. DOI: 10.2967/jnumed.116.183988

Contact:
Technical University of Munich
Chair for Molecular Nutritional Medicine
Else Kröner-Fresenius Zentrum / ZIEL
Dr. Tobias Fromme
Phone: +49/8161/71 3850
Mail: fromme@tum.de

Weitere Informationen:

https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/detail/article/33736/
https://mediatum.ub.tum.de/1350626?id=1350626 Photos in High Res

Dr. Ulrich Marsch | Technische Universität München

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Unique brain 'fingerprint' can predict drug effectiveness
11.07.2018 | McGill University

nachricht Direct conversion of non-neuronal cells into nerve cells
03.07.2018 | Universitätsmedizin der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nano-kirigami: 'Paper-cut' provides model for 3D intelligent nanofabrication

16.07.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

New players, standardization and digitalization for more rail freight transport

16.07.2018 | Transportation and Logistics

Researchers discover natural product that could lead to new class of commercial herbicide

16.07.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>