Aaron Cypess - Advances in BAT Research
Thanks to the support of the BNORC P&F grant, we have made several significant advances in our understanding of human and rodent BAT:
- We demonstrated that whole-body BAT mass and function can be quantified via non-invasive imaging, allowing us and others to do metabolic studies not previously possible. In doing so, we also showed that BAT glucose uptake is associated with an increase in blood flow and therefore thermogenesis. This connection is vital for understanding the biochemical processes underlying BAT function and also provides the preliminary data to develop additional methods to quantify BAT activity.
- The gene expression profiling of BAT has enabled us to state with high specificity where BAT can be found, which will be essential for subsequent studies designed at performing metabolic, genomic, and cell-based studies of human BAT.
- Finally, the most important discovery associated with this grant was our identifying human BAT and the description of its metabolic importance. Prior to our research, human BAT was thought not to exist, let alone have a metabolic role. This belief was reversed, and it is universally acknowledged that human BAT helps protect even adults from cold exposure, and its enormous capacity for energy expenditure may be utilized to treat obesity and diabetes.