Brown Adipose Tissue: an Update on Recent Findings.Curr Obes Rep. 2017 Dec; 6(4):389-396.CO
PURPOSE OF REVIEW
New treatment approaches to weight loss and weight loss maintenance in humans are critical. Given its potential role in stimulating energy expenditure, brown adipose tissue (BAT) activation has become a trending topic as an anti-obesity treatment.
Most studies on BAT stimulation have been conducted in rodents and used cold stimulation. To date, few human trials exist that tested the effect of cold exposure on BAT. Those studies show that BAT contributes a small amount to overall energy metabolism which is unlikely to cause weight loss. Nonetheless, improvements in glucose metabolism have been demonstrated in humans. While new pharmacological approaches demonstrate some contribution of BAT to overall energy expenditure, the potential cardiovascular risk (increased heart rate and blood pressure to sustain the extra energy expenditure) may preclude their use. There is no convincing evidence yet to indicate that BAT may be a viable pharmaceutical target for body weight loss or even weight loss maintenance. More research is needed to confirm the relevance of BAT and beige tissue to whole-body energy metabolism in humans.