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Lipids. 1987 Jun;22(6):442-4.

Role of brown adipose tissue in thermogenesis induced by overfeeding a diet containing medium chain triglyceride.


The role of brown adipose tissue in the mechanism of medium chain triglyceride (MCT)-induced thermogenesis was investigated. Under anesthesia, the interscapular brown adipose tissue (IBAT) was excised in male Sprague-Dawley rats, and the animals were fitted with gastrostomy tubes. After a 10-day recovery period, the animals were divided into two groups: one group received a diet containing MCT as 50% of calories, and the other group received an isocaloric diet containing long chain triglyceride (LCT). The diets were fed for 6 wk at a level of calorie intake that was 150% of the ad libitum intake of a parallel control group. During the last week of the study, resting and norepinephrine (NE)-stimulated O2 consumption and CO2 production were measured in a Noyons diaferometer. At the end of 6 wk, the animals were weighed and killed. The individual fat pads were dissected and weighed, and an aliquot of the right retroperitoneal fat pad was used to measure adipocyte size and number. The results showed that body weight and adipocyte size (but not adipocyte number) were significantly smaller in the MCT-fed compared to the LCT-fed animals. Resting as well as maximal NE-stimulated oxygen consumption values were significantly higher in the MCT-fed than the LCT-fed rats. It is concluded that the enhanced thermogenesis induced by MCT persists despite the absence of IBAT and that the phenomenon is likely related to more extensive oxidation of MCT- in contrast to LCT-derived fatty acids, thus leading to increased oxygen consumption, enhanced dissipation of energy as heat and diminished efficiency of weight gain and deposition of body fat.

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