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Physiol Res. 2006;55(6):653-9.

Assessment of brown adipose tissue activity in rats by 99mTc-sestamibi uptake.

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Laboratory of Physiology, Department of Physical Education and Sports Science, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece.


Brown adipose tissue (BAT) physiology and imaging have recently attracted considerable attention. BAT is characterized both by enhanced perfusion and increased mitochondrial activity. (99m)Tc-sestamibi is a lipophilic cationic tracer that concentrates in mitochondria. Data on the accumulation of (99m)Tc-sestamibi in BAT are currently lacking. This study investigates the in vivo (99m)Tc-sestamibi uptake in rat BAT. (99m)Tc-sestamibi was administered in male Wistar rats of various age and body size. (99m)Tc-sestamibi uptake was measured in vitro in BAT and white fat (WF) together with cytochrome c oxidase activity. Both (99m)Tc-sestamibi uptake and cytochrome c oxidase activity were higher in BAT than in WF (P<0.05). (99m)Tc-Sestamibi uptake in both BAT and WF was negatively related to body weight (r = -0.96 and -0.89, respectively) as was the BAT/WF uptake ratio (r = -0.85). These data show a higher (99m)Tc-sestamibi uptake in BAT compared to WF, in agreement with the high mitochondrial content and respiratory activity of the former. The strong negative correlation between (99m)Tc-sestamibi uptake in BAT and body weight (negative allometry), is in accordance to increased needs of thermogenesis in smaller animals. Implications of increased (99m)Tc-sestamibi uptake in BAT in radionuclide imaging are also discussed.

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