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Sci Rep. 2019 Jun 24;9(1):9104. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-45540-1.

Caffeine exposure induces browning features in adipose tissue in vitro and in vivo.

Author information

1
Wolfson Centre for Stem Cells, Tissue Engineering and Modelling (STEM), Division of Cancer & Stem Cells, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, NG7 2UH, United Kingdom.
2
The Early Life Research Unit, Division of Child Health, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, NG7 2UH, United Kingdom.
3
Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, NG7 2RD, United Kingdom.
4
VA Endocrinology and Diabetes Division, VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, and Department of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine; University of California, Los Angeles, CA, 90073, USA.
5
The Early Life Research Unit, Division of Child Health, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, NG7 2UH, United Kingdom. michael.symonds@nottingham.ac.uk.
6
Nottingham Digestive Disease Centre and Biomedical Research Centre School of Medicine, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, NG7 2UH, United Kingdom. michael.symonds@nottingham.ac.uk.
7
Wolfson Centre for Stem Cells, Tissue Engineering and Modelling (STEM), Division of Cancer & Stem Cells, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, NG7 2UH, United Kingdom. virginie.sottile@nottingham.ac.uk.

Abstract

Brown adipose tissue (BAT) is able to rapidly generate heat and metabolise macronutrients, such as glucose and lipids, through activation of mitochondrial uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1). Diet can modulate UCP1 function but the capacity of individual nutrients to promote the abundance and activity of UCP1 is not well established. Caffeine consumption has been associated with loss of body weight and increased energy expenditure, but whether it can activate UCP1 is unknown. This study examined the effect of caffeine on BAT thermogenesis in vitro and in vivo. Stem cell-derived adipocytes exposed to caffeine (1 mM) showed increased UCP1 protein abundance and cell metabolism with enhanced oxygen consumption and proton leak. These functional responses were associated with browning-like structural changes in mitochondrial and lipid droplet content. Caffeine also increased peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1-alpha expression and mitochondrial biogenesis, together with a number of BAT selective and beige gene markers. In vivo, drinking coffee (but not water) stimulated the temperature of the supraclavicular region, which co-locates to the main region of BAT in adult humans, and is indicative of thermogenesis. Taken together, these results demonstrate that caffeine can promote BAT function at thermoneutrality and may have the potential to be used therapeutically in adult humans.

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