PLoS One. 2015 Apr 13;10(4):e0122594. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0122594.

A clinical approach to brown adipose tissue in the para-aortic area of the human thorax.

 

Wei H1, Chiba S2, Moriwaki C1, Kitamura H2, Ina K2, Aosa T1, Tomonari K3, Gotoh K4, Masaki T4, Katsuragi I4, Noguchi H5, Kakuma T4, Hamaguchi K6, Shimada T6, Fujikura Y2, Shibata H4.
  • 1Department of Endocrinology, Metabolism, Rheumatology and Nephrology, Faculty of Medicine, Oita University, 1-1 Idaigaoka Hasama, Yufu, Oita, Japan; Department of Molecular Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, Oita University, 1-1 Idaigaoka Hasama, Yufu, Oita, Japan.
  • 2Department of Molecular Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, Oita University, 1-1 Idaigaoka Hasama, Yufu, Oita, Japan.
  • 3Oita Diagnostic Imaging Center of Shonin Hospital, 9 Shoningahama, Bepu, Oita, Japan.
  • 4Department of Endocrinology, Metabolism, Rheumatology and Nephrology, Faculty of Medicine, Oita University, 1-1 Idaigaoka Hasama, Yufu, Oita, Japan.
  • 5Noguchi Thyroid Clinic and Hospital Foundation, 7-52 Aoyama, Bepu, Oita, Japan.
  • 6Faculty of Medicine School of Nursing, Oita University, 1-1 Idaigaoka Hasama, Yufu, Oita, Japan.

 

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Human thoracic brown adipose tissue (BAT), composed of several subdivisions, is a well-known target organ of many clinical studies; however, the functional contribution of each part of human thoracic BAT remains unknown. The present study analyzed the significance of each part of human thoracic BAT in the association between regional distribution, cellularity, and factors involved in the functional regulation of thoracic BAT.

METHODS:

We analyzed 1550 healthy adults who underwent medical check-ups by positron-emission tomography and computed tomography (PET-CT) imaging, 8 cadavers, and 78 autopsy cases in an observational study. We first characterized the difference between the mediastinum and the supraclavicular areas using counts of BAT detection and conditions based on PET-CT outcomes. The measurable important area was then subjected to systematic anatomical and immunohistochemical analyses using anti-uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) antibody to characterize the cellularity in association with age and sex.

RESULTS:

In PET-CT scanning, the main site of thoracic BAT was the mediastinum rather than the supraclavicular area (P < 0.05). Systemic macroanatomy revealed that the thumb-sized BAT in the posterior mediastinal descending para-aortic area (paBAT) had feeding vessels from the posterior intercostal arteries and veins and sympathetic/parasympathetic innervation from trunks of the sympathetic and vagus nerves, respectively. Immunohistochemical analysis indicated that the paBAT exhibited immunoreactivity for tyrosine hydroxylase and vesicular acetylcholine transporter located in the pericellular nervous fibers and intracellular UCP1. The brown adipose cells of paBAT showed age-dependent decreases in UCP1 expression (P < 0.05), accompanied by a significant increase in vacuole formation, indicating fat accumulation (P < 0.05), from 10 to 37 years of age (P < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS:

paBAT may be one of the essential sites for clinical application in BAT study because of its visible anatomy with feeding vessels and sympathetic/parasympathetic innervation functionally affected by outer condition and senescence.

PMID: 25875082

 

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