Home Bratislava Medical Journal 2012 Bratislava Medical Journal Vol.113, No.1, p.52-56, 2012

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Published Monthly, in English
Founded: 1919
ISSN 0006-9248
(E)ISSN 1336-0345

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Bratislava Medical Journal Vol.113, No.1, p.52-56, 2012

Title: Brown fat tissue – a potential target to combat obesity
Author: E. Ginter, V. Simko

Abstract: From the global population perspective, the epidemic of “globesity” (more than one billion adults being
overweight) represents one of the largest public health problems (1). Traditional reasoning related to the
dysbalance between caloric intake and energy expenditure does not provide a satisfying explanation for a complex
failure to combat obesity. The brown adipose tisue (BAT) has a unique chemical structure and a specifi c
metabolic role. A potential preventive co-factor is thermogenesis. BAT has the ability to dissipate energy by
producing heat, rather than storing energy as triglycerides. The cells of the white adipose tissue (WAT) contain
one large globule of triglycerides which displaces the cell nucleus and other cell organelles excentrically, to the
cell periphery. BAT contains numerous smaller droplets of triglycerides, much higher number of mitochondria
and a specifi c uncoupling protein 1 or thermogenin. This specialized protein uncouples ATP production from
mitochondrial respiration and converts energy into heat. Using sophisticated diagnostic techniques (e.g. imaging
combination of positron-emisson tomography and computed tomography), scientists confi rmed the importance
of BAT not only in the newborn but also in adults who were found to possess considerable body stores of BAT.
The highest proportion of BAT has been detected in lean individuals. As the body mass increases, BAT proportionately
drops. Data both from animal and human studies suggest that BAT and mitochondrial uncoupling
can be targeted for interventions to prevent and treat obesity. Melatonin and arginine have been proposed as
possible interventional tools. The scientifi c world eagerly awaits further advanced studies to document possible
metabolic and pharmacologic interventions, using BAT as a primary target to prevent and manage obesity.

Keywords: brown adipose tissue, thermogenesis, cellular bioenegetics, mitochondria, uncoupling protein 1, adipose tissue engineering, obesity prevention.
Published online: 16-Jan-2012
Year: 2012, Volume: 113, Issue: 1 Page From: 52, Page To: 56
doi:10.4149/BLL_2012_013


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