Send to

Choose Destination
Ann Nutr Metab. 2015;67(1):21-32. doi: 10.1159/000437173. Epub 2015 Jul 25.

Role of Exercise in the Activation of Brown Adipose Tissue.

Author information

PROFITH 'PROmoting FITness and Health Through Physical Activity' Research Group, Department of Physical Education and Sport, Faculty of Sport Sciences, University of Granada, Granada, Spain.



The energy-burning capacity of brown adipose tissue (BAT) makes it an attractive target for use in anti-obesity therapies. Moreover, due to its ability to oxidize glucose and lipids, BAT activation has been considered a potential therapy to combat type 2 diabetes and atherogenesis.


BAT is mainly regulated by the sympathetic nervous system (SNS); yet, recent findings have shown a group of novel activators that act independently of the stimulation of the SNS such as cardiac natriuretic peptides, irisin, interleukin-6, β-aminoisobutyric acid and fibroblast growth factor 21 that could influence BAT metabolism. Several strategies are being examined to activate and recruit BAT with no side effects. In this review, we postulate that exercise might activate and recruit human BAT through the activation of SNS, heart and skeletal muscle.


Epidemiological and well-designed exercise-based randomized controlled studies are needed to clarify if exercise is able to activate BAT in humans.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for S. Karger AG, Basel, Switzerland
Loading ...
Support Center