The prevalence and predictors of active brown adipose tissue in Chinese adults

Zhaoyun Zhang, Aaron M. Cypess, Qing Miao, Hongying Ye, Chong Wee Liew, Qiongyue Zhang, Ruidan Xue, Shuo Zhang, Chuantao Zuo, Zhensheng Xu, Qiqun Tang, Renming Hu, Yihui Guan, Yiming Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Previous studies have shown that active brown adipose tissue (BAT) is present in adults and may play important roles in the regulation of energy homeostasis. However, nearly every study has been carried out in patients undergoing scanning for cancer surveillance (CS), whose metabolism and BAT activity may not reflect those of healthy individuals. The objective of this study was to investigate the prevalence and predictors of active BAT in Chinese adults, particularly in healthy individuals. Design: A total of 31 088 consecutive subjects aged ≥ 18 years who had undergone positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) scanning of BAT were evaluated in this study. Methods: We measured BAT activity via 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose PET/CT in subjects who had undergone scanning for either a routine medical checkup (MC) or CS in Shanghai. Then, we investigated the predictors of active BAT, particularly in healthy individuals. Results: In both groups, the prevalence of BAT was higher in women than in men. Using a multivariate logistic analysis, we found age, sex, BMI, and high thyroid glucose uptake to be significant predictors of BAT activity in the MC group. Similarly, we found age, sex, and BMI to be significant predictors of BAT activity, but not thyroid high glucose uptake, in the CS group. Conclusions: In Chinese adults, BAT activity inversely correlates with BMI and thyroid high glucose uptake, which reinforces the central role of brown fat in adult metabolism and provides clues to a potential means for treating the metabolic syndrome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)359-366
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Endocrinology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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