bims-mimbat Biomed News
on Mitochondrial metabolism in brown adipose tissue
Issue of 2022‒02‒20
twelve papers selected by
José Carlos de Lima-Júnior
University of California San Francisco

  1. FASEB J. 2022 Mar;36(3): e22205
      Increasing whole-body energy expenditure via the pharmacological activation of uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1)-dependent brown adipose tissue (BAT) thermogenesis is a promising weight management strategy, yet most therapeutics studied in rodents to date either induce compensatory increases in energy intake, have thermogenic effects that are confounded by sub-thermoneutral housing temperatures or are not well tolerated in humans. Here, we sought to determine whether the non-invasive topical application of the pharmacological cold mimetic and transient receptor potential (TRP) cation channel subfamily M member 8 (TRPM8) agonist L-menthol (MNTH), could be used to stimulate BAT thermogenesis and attenuate weight gain in mice housed at thermoneutrality. Using three different strains of mice and multiple complimentary approaches to quantify thermogenesis in vivo, coupled with ex vivo models to quantify direct thermogenic effects, we were able to convincingly demonstrate the following: (1) acute topical MNTH application induces BAT thermogenesis in a TRPM8- and UCP1-dependent manner; (2) MNTH-induced BAT thermogenesis is sufficient to attenuate weight gain over time without affecting energy intake in lean and obese mice; (3) the ability of topical MNTH application to stimulate BAT thermogenesis is mediated, in part, by a central mechanism involving the release of norepinephrine. These data collectively suggest that topical application of MNTH may be a promising weight management strategy.
    Keywords:  TRPM8; UCP1; menthol; thermoneutral; topical
  2. Physiol Rep. 2022 Feb;10(4): e15187
      Repeated activation of the beta 3 adrenergic receptor (β3AR) with the agonist CL 316,243 (CL) results in remodeling of white adipose tissue (WAT) characterized by increased mitochondrial enzymes and expression of uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1). β3AR activation also has profound acute metabolic effects including rapidly decreasing blood glucose, secondary to fatty acid-induced increases in insulin, and increasing energy expenditure. The acute (single dose) effects of β3AR activation have largely been examined in treatment naive animals and under room temperature housing conditions. The current study examined if repeated CL treatment would lead to an attenuation of acute metabolic effects of CL treatment under thermoneutral housing conditions and if this could be rescued with cilostamide, a phosphodiesterase inhibitor. We provide evidence demonstrating that the acute effects of CL to increase serum fatty acids and insulin and reduce blood glucose, but not increases in energy expenditure, are attenuated in mice following repeated treatment with CL. This occurs in parallel with reductions in indices of protein kinase A signaling in WAT including the phosphorylation of hormone sensitive lipase. The findings of attenuated serum fatty acid, insulin, and blood glucose responses were confirmed in both high-fat fed and UCP1-/- mice repeatedly treated with CL. Desensitization to CL in mice was rescued by cilostamide. Herein, we provide evidence that the glucose lowering, but not thermogenesis inducing, effects of CL are attenuated with repeated treatment and can be rescued by cilostamide. The findings of this study point toward novel adjunct treatment approaches that could be used to maximize therapeutic, glucose lowering effects of β3AR agonists.
    Keywords:  CL 316,243; UCP1; adipose tissue; cilostamide; fatty acids; insulin; mitochondria, thermogenesis; obesity
  3. Am J Hum Biol. 2022 Feb 13. e23723
      OBJECTIVES: Recent research suggests that brown adipose tissue (BAT) plays a functional role in non-shivering thermogenesis; however, few studies have examined population variation in BAT or its relationship with other mechanisms of adaptation to cold stress. This study characterized BAT thermogenesis and other adaptive responses to low temperatures among Indigenous Siberian young adults and young adults living near Chicago, IL.MATERIALS AND METHODS: We recruited 72 Yakut participants (42 females; 30 males) and 54 participants in Evanston, IL (40 females; 14 males). Anthropometric dimensions and resting metabolic rate (RMR) were measured, and we calculated percent divergence in RMR from expected values (divRMR). We also quantified change in supraclavicular temperature, sternum temperature, and energy expenditure after a mild cooling condition.
    RESULTS: Participants in Yakutia were less likely to shiver during the cooling condition (p < .05) and exhibited significantly greater evidence of BAT thermogenesis, warmer sternum temperatures, and higher divRMR than participants in Evanston (p < .05). Additionally, the relationship between change in supraclavicular temperature and energy expenditure differed between the two samples.
    CONCLUSIONS: Yakut young adults displayed greater evidence of BAT thermogenesis in response to mild cooling compared with young adults living near Chicago, IL. Furthermore, the relationship between BAT thermogenesis and change in energy expenditure appears to be stronger among Yakut adults. Adults that exhibited greater metabolic response to cold stress, such as higher BAT thermogenesis and divRMR, maintained warmer sternum temperatures. These results highlight the degree to which adaptation to cold climates involves multiple integrated biological pathways.
  4. Methods Mol Biol. 2022 ;2448 141-153
      Thermogenic adipose tissue plays a vital function in regulating whole-body energy expenditure and nutrient homeostasis due to its capacity to dissipate chemical energy as heat, in a process called non-shivering thermogenesis. A reduction of creatine levels in adipocytes impairs thermogenic capacity and promotes diet-induced obesityKazak et al, Cell 163, 643-55, 2015; Kazak et al, Cell Metab 26, 660-671.e3, 2017; Kazak et al, Nat Metab 1, 360-370, 2019). Mechanistically, thermogenic respiration can be promoted by the liberation of an excess quantity of ADP that is dependent on addition of creatine. A model of a two-enzyme system, which we term the Futile Creatine Cycle, has been posited to support this thermogenic action of creatine. Futile creatine cycling can be monitored in purified mitochondrial preparations wherein creatine-dependent liberation of ADP is monitored through the measurement of oxygen consumption under ADP-limiting conditions. The current model proposes that, in thermogenic fat cells, mitochondria-targeted creatine kinase B (CKB) uses mitochondrial-derived ATP to phosphorylate creatine (Rahbani JF, Nature 590, 480-485, 2021). The creatine kinase reaction generates phosphocreatine and ADP, and ADP stimulates respiration. Next, a pool of mitochondrial phosphocreatine is directly hydrolyzed by a phosphatase, to regenerate creatine. The liberated creatine can then engage mitochondrial CKB to trigger another round of this cycle to support ADP-dependent respiration. In this model, the coordinated action of creatine phosphorylation and phosphocreatine hydrolysis triggers a futile cycle that produces a molar excess of mitochondrial ADP to promote thermogenic respiration (Rahbani JF, Nature 590, 480-485, 2021; Kazak and Cohen, Nat Rev Endocrinol 16, 421-436, 2020). Here, we provide a detailed method to perform respiratory measurements on isolated mitochondria and calculate the stoichiometry of creatine-dependent ADP liberation. This method provides a direct measure of the futile creatine cycle.
    Keywords:  Beige adipocytes; Brown adipocytes; Clark-type electrode; Futile creatine cycle; Mitochondria; P/O ratio; Respiration; Thermogenesis
  5. Methods Mol Biol. 2022 ;2448 1-18
      Brown adipose tissue (BAT) was first identified by Conrad Gessner in 1551, but it was only in 1961 that it was firmly identified as a thermogenic organ. Key developments in the subsequent two decades demonstrated that: (1) BAT is quantitatively important to non-shivering thermogenesis in rodents, (2) uncoupling of oxidative phosphorylation through a mitochondrial proton conductance pathway is the central mechanism by which heat is generated, (3) uncoupling protein-1 is the critical factor regulating proton leakage in BAT mitochondria. Following pivotal studies on cafeteria-fed rats and obese ob/ob mice, BAT was then shown to have a central role in the regulation of energy balance and the etiology of obesity. The application of fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography in the late 2000s confirmed that BAT is present and active in adults, resulting in renewed interest in the tissue in human energetics and obesity. Subsequent studies have demonstrated a broad metabolic role for BAT, the tissue being an important site of glucose disposal and triglyceride clearance, as well as of insulin action. BAT continues to be a potential target for the treatment of obesity and related metabolic disorders.
    Keywords:  Brown adipose tissue; Diet-induced thermogenesis; Energy metabolism; Mitochondria; Non-shivering thermogenesis; Nutritional energetics; Obesity; Uncoupling protein-1 (UCP1); White adipose tissue
  6. Methods Mol Biol. 2022 ;2448 131-139
      The identification of non-canonical UCP1-independent thermogenic mechanisms offers new opportunities to target such pathways to improve metabolic health. Based on our recent studies on Ca2+ futile cycling thermogenesis in beige fat, we applied the newly developed implantable wireless optogenetic system to activate Ca2+ cycling in an adipocyte-specific manner without external stimuli, i.e., fat-specific cold mimetics. Here, we describe the detailed methodology and application to the prevention of obesity.
    Keywords:  Beige fat; Ca2+ cycling thermogenesis; Obesity; Optogenetics; SERCA2
  7. Methods Mol Biol. 2022 ;2448 97-106
      Intracellular lipolysis, the hydrolysis of stored triacylglycerol to fatty acids and glycerol, is a core metabolic function of brown and white adipocytes. In brown adipocytes, mobilized fatty acids directly activate uncoupling protein 1, provide fuel for heat generation, and ligands of nuclear receptors that expand the thermogenic gene expression program. Lipolysis in white adipocytes mobilizes lipid energy for systemic use, including both shivering and non-shivering thermogenesis. In addition, most metabolic tissues, including muscle and liver, have the ability to store triacylglycerol and release fatty acids; thus, there is a general interest in measuring lipolysis in a wide array of cell types. Here we describe detailed protocols for the enzymatic detection of cellular fatty acid and glycerol efflux via fluorescent and colorimetric means, respectively. In addition, we also describe a genetically encoded luminescent detection system for intracellular fatty acids that is amenable to high-throughput analysis.
    Keywords:  Brown adipocyte; Fatty acid; Fluorescent; Glycerol; Lipolysis; Luminescent; Triacylglycerol hydrolysis
  8. Methods Mol Biol. 2022 ;2448 217-234
      Brown adipose tissue (BAT) is a thermoregulatory fat with energy-consuming properties. The location and heterogeneity of this tissue makes it complicated to sample before and after interventions in humans, and an in vitro model for mechanistic and molecular studies is therefore of great value. We here describe a protocol for isolation of progenitors from the stromal vascular fraction of BAT biopsies obtained surgically from adult humans. We further present how these cells are differentiated in vitro and finally how they are characterized for thermogenic capacity. Methods for characterization described here include norepinephrine-induced thermogenic gene expression using qPCR; norepinephrine-induced mitochondrial uncoupling using the Seahorse XFe96 Analyzer, and norepinephrine-induced expression of UCP1 using the RNAscope® Technology.
    Keywords:  Adipogenesis; BAT in vitro model; Brown fat differentiation; Human BAT; Human brown adipocytes; Oxygen consumption rate in human brown adipocytes; UCP1 RNAscope
  9. Methods Mol Biol. 2022 ;2448 177-202
      Concerning diet-induced thermogenesis, methodological issues relate mainly to the interpretation of measurements, rather than to the technical methodology as such. In the following, we point to a series of issues where the analysis often suggests the occurrence of UCP1-related diet-induced thermogenesis but where the observations are often the consequences of a process that has induced leanness rather than being the cause of them. We particularly emphasize the necessity of focusing on the total organism when interpreting biochemical and molecular data, where the concept of total tissue values rather than relative data better reflects physiologically important alterations. We stress the importance of performing experiments at thermoneutrality in order to obtain clinically relevant data and stress that true thermogenic agents may be overlooked if this is not done.
    Keywords:  Diet-induced thermogenesis; Metabolic efficiency; Thermogenesis; UCP1
  10. Methods Mol Biol. 2022 ;2448 19-42
      The Brown Adipose Tissue (BAT) is composed by mitochondrial rich, multilocular adipocytes, in strict topographical and functional relation with vasculature and noradrenergic nerves. Brown adipocytes are able to dissipate energy to produce heat, in a process known as non-shivering thermogenesis. Due to its contribution to energy expenditure, BAT is intensely studied for its potential to counteract metabolic diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia and cardiovascular diseases. BAT displays specific morphological characteristics that allow to assess its functional state. In this chapter we describe methodologies to properly dissect BAT depots, evaluate their gross anatomy, and assess its activation by light microscopy using peroxidase immunostaining and by laser scanning confocal microscopy using immunofluorescence. We also describe methodologies to study BAT ultrastructure by transmission and scanning electron microscopy, to visualize peroxidase immunostaining reactions at an ultrastructural level and to perform immunofluorescence reactions on paraffin-embedded samples, more often available in the clinical setting (due to the possibility to store them long-term) as opposed to fresh samples. The described techniques can be employed to study BAT morphology and activation in response to various stimuli (e.g., cold exposure; specific dietary composition) and in different pathological conditions (e.g., obesity; type 2 diabetes).
    Keywords:  Brown adipocyte; Brown adipose tissue; Browning; Confocal microscopy; Immunofluorescence; Immunohistochemistry; Light microscopy; Morphology techniques; Scanning electron microscopy; Transmission electron microscopy
  11. Methods Mol Biol. 2022 ;2448 107-118
      The uptake of glucose, non-esterified fatty acids, and triglycerides into brown adipose tissue is an important determinant of systemic energy metabolism, which can be studied by metabolic turnover studies using radioactive tracers in vivo. Here, we address the uptake of glucose and lipid tracers into metabolically active organs with a focus on thermogenically activated adipose tissues. Uptake by beige and brown adipocytes is highly dependent on conditions such as ambient temperature, but also varies between fasted compared to postprandial states. Accordingly, we provide methodological insights how to quantify glucose and lipid disposal under multiple physiological and environmental conditions.
    Keywords:  Chylomicrons; Glucose; Metabolic turnover studies; Triglycerides; VLDL
  12. Methods Mol Biol. 2022 ;2448 119-130
      Brown adipose tissue (BAT) demonstrates extraordinary metabolic capacity. Previous research using conventional radio tracers reveals that BAT can act as a sink for a diverse menu of nutrients; still, the question of how BAT utilizes these nutrients remains unclear. Recent advances in mass spectrometry (MS) coupled to stable isotope tracing methods have greatly improved our understanding of metabolism in biology. Here, we have developed a BAT-tailored metabolomics and stable isotope tracing protocol using, as an example, the universally labeled 13C-glucose, a key nutrient heavily utilized by BAT. This method enables metabolic roadmaps to be drawn and pathway fluxes to be inferred for each nutrient tracer within BAT and its application could uncover new metabolic pathways not previously appreciated for BAT physiology.
    Keywords:  Brown adipose tissue; Brown fat; Gavage; Glucose; Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS); Metabolism; Metabolomics; Stable isotope tracing; Temperature acclimation