Publication: A larger brown fat volume and lower radiodensity are related to a greater cardiometabolic risk, especially in young men.
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Brown adipose tissue (BAT) is important in the maintenance of cardiometabolic health in rodents. Recent reports appear to suggest the same in humans, although if this is true remains elusive partly because of the methodological bias that affected previous research. This cross-sectional work reports the relationships of cold-induced BAT volume, activity (peak standardized uptake, SUVpeak), and mean radiodensity (an inverse proxy of the triacylglycerols content) with the cardiometabolic and inflammatory profile of 131 young adults, and how these relationships are influenced by sex and body weight. This is a cross-sectional study. Subjects underwent personalized cold exposure for 2 h to activate BAT, followed by static 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose PET-CT scanning to determine BAT variables. Information on cardiometabolic risk (CMR) and inflammatory markers was gathered, and a CMR score and fatty liver index (FLI) were calculated. In men, BAT volume was positively related to homocysteine and liver damage markers concentrations (independently of BMI and seasonality) and the FLI (all P ≤ 0.05). In men, BAT mean radiodensity was negatively related to the glucose and insulin concentrations, alanine aminotransferase activity, insulin resistance, total cholesterol/HDL-C, LDL-C/HDL-C, the CMR score, and the FLI (all P ≤ 0.02). In women, it was only negatively related to the FLI (P 0.05). A larger BAT volume and a lower BAT mean radiodensity are related to a higher CMR, especially in young men, which may support that BAT acts as a compensatory organ in states of metabolic disruption.