Detecting brown adipose tissue activity with BOLD MRI in mice



The recent discovery of active brown adipose tissue (BAT) in adult humans and the correlation found between the activity of this tissue and resting metabolic rate strongly suggest that this tissue may be implicated in the development of obesity in humans, as it is in rodents. Despite the possible physiological role of this tissue in the onset of human obesity, few noninvasive imaging techniques to detect BAT activity in humans exist. The scope of this work is to investigate the possibility of detecting BAT activity using blood-oxygen-level-dependent MRI. Our results show that the strong increase in oxygen consumption and consequent increase in blood deoxyhemoglobin levels following BAT activation lead to a well-localized signal drop in BAT. This strongly suggests the possibility to use blood-oxygen-level-dependent MRI for the noninvasive detection of BAT activity. Magn Reson Med, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.