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Keywords:

  • brown adipose tissue;
  • white adipose tissue;
  • fat fraction;
  • IDEAL

Abstract

Purpose:

To investigate the feasibility of using IDEAL (Iterative Decomposition with Echo Asymmetry and Least squares estimation) fat–water imaging and the resultant fat fraction metric in detecting brown adipose tissue (BAT) in mice, and in differentiating BAT from white adipose tissue (WAT).

Materials and Methods:

Excised WAT and BAT samples and whole-mice carcasses were imaged with a rapid three-dimensional fat–water IDEAL-SPGR sequence on a 3 Tesla scanner using a single-channel wrist coil. An isotropic voxel size of 0.6 mm was used. Excised samples were also scanned with single-voxel proton spectroscopy. Fat fraction images from IDEAL were reconstructed online using research software, and regions of WAT and BAT were quantified.

Results:

A broad fat fraction range for BAT was observed (40–80%), in comparison to a tighter and higher WAT range of 90–93%, in both excised tissue samples and in situ. Using the fat fraction metric, the interscapular BAT depot in each carcass could be clearly identified, as well as peri-renal and inguinal depots that exhibited a mixed BAT and WAT phenotype appearance.

Conclusion:

Due to BAT's multi-locular fat distribution and extensive mitochondrial, cytoplasm, and vascular supply, its fat content is significantly less than that of WAT. We have demonstrated that the fat fraction metric from IDEAL-MRI is a sensitive and quantitative approach to noninvasively characterize BAT. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2010;31:1195–1202. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.