Contribution of brown adipose tissue to human energy metabolism.Mol Aspects Med. 2019 08; 68:82-89.MA
The present "obesogenic' environment has favored excessive energy intake resulting in the current obesity epidemic and its associated diseases. The epidemic has incentivized scientists to develop novel behavioral and pharmacological strategies that enhance energy expenditure to compensate for excessive energy intake. Although physical activity is effective to increase total energy expenditure, it is insufficient to induce negative energy balance and weight loss. With the discovery of brown adipose tissue (BAT) in adult humans, BAT activation soon emerged as a potential strategy for elevating energy expenditure. BAT is the only tissue that expresses uncoupling protein 1, conferring on this tissue high thermogenic capacity due to a low efficiency for mitochondrial ATP generation. Potential manipulation of BAT mass and activity has fueled the interest in altering whole-body energy balance through increased energy expenditure. Remarkable advances have been made in quantifying the amount and activity of BAT in humans. Many studies have concluded that the amount of active BAT appears insufficient to induce meaningful increases in energy expenditure. Thus, the majority of studies report that BAT activation does not influence body weight and metabolic control in humans. Strategies to increase BAT mass and/or to potentiate BAT activity seem necessary.