bims-mimbat Biomed News
on Mitochondrial metabolism in brown adipose tissue
Issue of 2022‒04‒24
five papers selected by
José Carlos de Lima-Júnior
University of California San Francisco

  1. J Physiol Anthropol. 2022 Apr 20. 41(1): 17
      INTRODUCTION: Interest in human physiological responses to cold stress have seen a resurgence in recent years with a focus on brown adipose tissue (BAT), a mitochondria dense fat specialized for heat production. However, a majority of the work examining BAT has been conducted among temperate climate populations.METHODS: To expand our understanding of BAT thermogenesis in a cold climate population, we measured, using indirect calorimetry and thermal imaging, metabolic rate and body surface temperatures of BAT-positive and BAT-negative regions at room temperature, and mild cold exposure of resting participants from a small sample of reindeer herders (N = 22, 6 females) from sub-Arctic Finland.
    RESULTS: We found that most herders experienced a significant mean 8.7% increase in metabolic rates, preferentially metabolized fatty acids, and maintained relatively warmer body surface temperatures at the supraclavicular region (known BAT location) compared to the sternum, which has no associated BAT. These results indicate that the herders in this sample exhibit active BAT thermogenesis in response to mild cold exposure.
    CONCLUSIONS: This study adds to the rapidly growing body of work looking at the physiological and thermoregulatory significance of BAT and the important role it may play among cold stressed populations.
    Keywords:  Brown adipose tissue; Cold stress; Metabolism; Non-shivering thermogenesis; Respiratory quotient
  2. Sci Rep. 2022 Apr 22. 12(1): 6612
      Human brown fat is a potential therapeutic target for preventing obesity and related metabolic diseases by dissipating energy as heat through uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1). We have previously reported a method to obtain chemical compound-induced brown adipocytes (ciBAs) converted from human dermal fibroblasts under serum-free conditions. However, pharmacological responses to bioactive molecules have been poorly characterised in ciBAs. This study showed that the treatment with Capsaicin, an agonist of transient receptor potential vanilloid 1, directly activated adipocyte browning such as UCP1 expression, mitochondrial biogenesis, energy consumption rates, and glycerol recycling in ciBAs. Furthermore, genome-wide transcriptome analysis indicated that Capsaicin activated a broad range of metabolic genes including glycerol kinase and glycerol 3-phosphate dehydrogenase 1, which could be associated with the activation of glycerol recycling and triglyceride synthesis. Capsaicin also activated UCP1 expression in immortalised human brown adipocytes but inhibited its expression in mesenchymal stem cell-derived adipocytes. Altogether, ciBAs successfully reflected the direct effects of Capsaicin on adipocyte browning. These findings suggested that ciBAs could serve as a promising cell model for screening of small molecules and dietary bioactive compounds targeting human brown adipocytes.
  3. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2022 ;13 858417
      Due to its high metabolic activity, brown adipose tissue (BAT) has become a promising target for the development of novel treatment concepts for metabolic disease. Despite several reports of a negative association between the presence of active BAT and obesity, very little is known about the quantitative and qualitative differences of BAT in lean and obese individuals. Systematic studies directly comparing cold-induced BAT activity in leanness and obesity are currently lacking. Here we studied BAT mass and function in 31 lean and 64 obese men and women. After a standardized cooling protocol using a water-perfused vest, 18F-FDG-positron emission tomography/computed tomography scans were performed, and BAT was delineated using lean body-mass adjusted standardized uptake value (SUV) thresholds in anatomic regions with fat radiodensity. Cold-induced thermogenesis (CIT), a functional readout of BAT activity, was quantified by indirect calorimetry. Active BAT was present in a significantly higher proportion of lean than obese individuals (58% vs. 33%, p=0.019). In these participants with active BAT, however, BAT volume and activity did not differ between leanness and obesity. Accordingly, CIT was similar in both weight groups. BAT metrics were not related to adiposity or total fat mass per se. However, in obese participants a strong negative correlation existed between visceral adipose tissue and BAT volume, 18F-FDG uptake and CIT. In summary, despite a significantly lower prevalence of BAT, the metabolic activity and thermogenic capacity of BAT appears to be still intact in obesity and is inversely associated with visceral fat mass.
    Keywords:  PET/CT ; brown adipose tissue; cold exposure; obesity; thermogenesis
  4. Elife. 2022 Apr 22. pii: e71634. [Epub ahead of print]11
      The mitochondrial unfolded protein response (UPRmt) has emerged as a predominant mechanism that preserves mitochondrial function. Consequently, multiple pathways likely exist to modulate UPRmt. We discovered that the tRNA processing enzyme, homolog of ELAC2 (HOE-1), is key to UPRmt regulation in Caenorhabditis elegans. We find that nuclear HOE-1 is necessary and sufficient to robustly activate UPRmt. We show that HOE-1 acts via transcription factors ATFS-1 and DVE-1 that are crucial for UPRmt. Mechanistically, we show that HOE-1 likely mediates its effects via tRNAs, as blocking tRNA export prevents HOE-1-induced UPRmt. Interestingly, we find that HOE-1 does not act via the integrated stress response, which can be activated by uncharged tRNAs, pointing towards its reliance on a new mechanism. Finally, we show that the subcellular localization of HOE-1 is responsive to mitochondrial stress and is subject to negative regulation via ATFS-1. Together, we have discovered a novel RNA-based cellular pathway that modulates UPRmt.
    Keywords:  C. elegans; cell biology
  5. FASEB J. 2022 May;36(5): e22325
      The physiological role played by uncoupling protein 3 (UCP3) in white adipose tissue (WAT) has not been elucidated so far. In the present study, we evaluated the impact of the absence of the whole body UCP3 on WAT physiology in terms of ability to store triglycerides, oxidative capacity, response to insulin, inflammation, and adipokine production. Wild type (WT) and UCP3 Knockout (KO) mice housed at thermoneutrality (30°C) have been used as the animal model. Visceral gonadic WAT (gWAT) from KO mice showed an impaired capacity to store triglycerides (TG) as indicated by its lowered weight, reduced adipocyte diameter, and higher glycerol release (index of lipolysis). The absence of UCP3 reduces the maximal oxidative capacity of gWAT, increases mitochondrial free radicals, and activates ER stress. These processes are associated with increased levels of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 and TNF-α. The response of gWAT to in vivo insulin administration, revealed by (ser473)-AKT phosphorylation, was blunted in KO mice, with a putative role played by eif2a, JNK, and inflammation. Variations in adipokine levels in the absence of UCP3 were observed, including reduced adiponectin levels both in gWAT and serum. As a whole, these data indicate an important role of UCP3 in regulating the metabolic functionality of gWAT, with its absence leading to metabolic derangement. The obtained results help to clarify some aspects of the association between metabolic disorders and low UCP3 levels.
    Keywords:  endoplasmic reticulum; insulin resistance; lipolysis; mitochondria; uncoupling protein; white adipose tissue