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Evaluation of active brown adipose tissue by the use of hyperpolarized [1-13C]pyruvate MRI in mice

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The capacity to increase energy expenditure makes brown adipose tissue (BAT) a putative target for treatment of metabolic diseases such as obesity. Presently, investigation of BAT in vivo is mainly performed by fluoro-D-glucose positron emission tomography (FDG PET)/CT. However, non-radioactive methods that add information on, for example, substrate metabolism are warranted. Thus, the aim of this study was to evaluate the potential of hyperpolarized [1-13 C]pyruvate Magnetic Resonance Imaging (HP-MRI) to determine BAT activity in mice following chronic cold exposure. Cold (6°C) and thermo-neutral (30°C) acclimated mice were scanned with HP-MRI for assessment of the interscapular BAT (iBAT) activity. Comparable mice were scanned with the conventional method FDG PET/MRI. Finally, iBAT was evaluated for gene expression and protein levels of the specific thermogenic marker, uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1). Cold exposure increased the thermogenic capacity 3–4 fold (p < 0.05) as measured by UCP1 gene and protein analysis. Furthermore, cold exposure as compared with thermo-neutrality increased iBAT pyruvate metabolism by 5.5-fold determined by HP-MRI which is in good agreement with the 5-fold increment in FDG uptake (p < 0.05) measured by FDG PET/MRI. iBAT activity is detectable in mice using HP-MRI in which potential changes in intracellular metabolism may add useful information to the conventional FDG PET studies. HP-MRI may also be a promising radiation-free tool for repetitive BAT studies in humans.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2597
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Volume19
Issue9
Number of pages13
ISSN1661-6596
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018

    Research areas

  • Brown adipose tissue, Cold exposure, FDG PET, Hyperpolarized pyruvate MRI, UCP1 expression

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