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 Research shows TCOM and osteopathic approach making a difference
20.08.2019 | University of North Texas Health Science Center

nachricht Graphene nanoflakes: a new tool for precision medicine
19.08.2019 | Schweizerischer Nationalfonds SNF

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: Towards an 'orrery' for quantum gauge theory

Experimental progress towards engineering quantized gauge fields coupled to ultracold matter promises a versatile platform to tackle problems ranging from condensed-matter to high-energy physics

The interaction between fields and matter is a recurring theme throughout physics. Classical cases such as the trajectories of one celestial body moving in the...

Im Focus: A miniature stretchable pump for the next generation of soft robots

Soft robots have a distinct advantage over their rigid forebears: they can adapt to complex environments, handle fragile objects and interact safely with humans. Made from silicone, rubber or other stretchable polymers, they are ideal for use in rehabilitation exoskeletons and robotic clothing. Soft bio-inspired robots could one day be deployed to explore remote or dangerous environments.

Most soft robots are actuated by rigid, noisy pumps that push fluids into the machines' moving parts. Because they are connected to these bulky pumps by tubes,...

Im Focus: Vehicle Emissions: New sensor technology to improve air quality in cities

Researchers at TU Graz are working together with European partners on new possibilities of measuring vehicle emissions.

Today, air pollution is one of the biggest challenges facing European cities. As part of the Horizon 2020 research project CARES (City Air Remote Emission...

Im Focus: Self healing robots that "feel pain"

Over the next three years, researchers from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, University of Cambridge, École Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles de la ville de Paris (ESPCI-Paris) and Empa will be working together with the Dutch Polymer manufacturer SupraPolix on the next generation of robots: (soft) robots that ‘feel pain’ and heal themselves. The partners can count on 3 million Euro in support from the European Commission.

Soon robots will not only be found in factories and laboratories, but will be assisting us in our immediate environment. They will help us in the household, to...

Im Focus: Scientists create the world's thinnest gold

Scientists at the University of Leeds have created a new form of gold which is just two atoms thick - the thinnest unsupported gold ever created.

The researchers measured the thickness of the gold to be 0.47 nanometres - that is one million times thinner than a human finger nail. The material is regarded...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

The power of thought – the key to success: CYBATHLON BCI Series 2019

16.08.2019 | Event News

4th Hybrid Materials and Structures 2020 28 - 29 April 2020, Karlsruhe, Germany

14.08.2019 | Event News

What will the digital city of the future look like? City Science Summit on 1st and 2nd October 2019 in Hamburg

12.08.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

All-in-one: New microbe degrades oil to gas

20.08.2019 | Life Sciences

Spinning lightwaves on a one-way street

20.08.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Materials that can revolutionize how light is harnessed for solar energy

20.08.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>