Send to

Choose Destination
Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Nov 20;20(23). pii: E5827. doi: 10.3390/ijms20235827.

Metabolically Active Brown Adipose Tissue Is Found in Adult Subjects with Type 1 Diabetes.

Author information

Science for Life Laboratory, Department of Medicinal Chemistry, Division of Molecular Imaging, Uppsala University, 75123 Uppsala, Sweden.
Turku PET Centre, Åbo Akademi, Turku 20520, Finland.
Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Uppsala University, 75237 Uppsala, Sweden.
Department of Medical Sciences, Uppsala University, 75185 Uppsala, Sweden.
Department of Medical Cell Biology, Uppsala University, 75123 Uppsala, Sweden.


Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is characterized by the loss of insulin-producing cells and hence insulin secretion and metabolic control. In addition to insulin, there are a number of hormones and cytokines that influence metabolism, and many of these can be secreted from brown adipose tissue (BAT). However, the presence and activity of BAT in T1D have not been studied, despite the fact that preclinical studies have shown that transplantation of BAT in mouse models of T1D can restore metabolic control. The metabolic activity of BAT, white adipose tissue (WAT), and skeletal muscle was investigated in patients with T1D (n = 11) by 2-deoxy-2-(18F)fluoro-D-glucose PET/CT after cold stimulation. Functional BAT was detected in 4 out of 11 individuals with T1D with a prevalence of 36%. The glucose utilization rate in the supraclavicular BAT regions ranged from 0.75-38.7 µmol × min-1 × 100 g-1. The glucose utilization per gram tissue was higher in BAT when compared with both WAT (p = 0.049) and skeletal muscle (p = 0.039). However, no correlation between BAT activity and metabolic control or insulin requirements was found. In conclusion, for the first time, cold-induced BAT was detected in patients with T1D with a wide range in metabolic activity. Contrary to findings in animal models, the metabolic activity of BAT had negligible impact on insulin requirements or metabolic control in T1D under normal physiological conditions.


brown adipose tissue; metabolic control; positron emission tomography; type 1 diabetes

Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI)
Loading ...
Support Center