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Editor's e-Note
The annual SNMMI meeting was this month, so we’re spotlighting some interesting nuclear medicine news.

Enjoy the newsletter. Let us know what you think about it on Twitter and/or Facebook.

— Dave Yeager, editor
e-News Exclusive
Active Brown Adipose Tissue Protects Against ‘Pre-prediabetes’

In a prospective study of young, lean adults, PET/CT imaging revealed that higher levels of active brown adipose tissue (also known as brown fat) are more prevalent in individuals who exhibit very early indications of metabolic disorders. Published ahead of print in The Journal of Nuclear Medicine, the study suggests that active brown fat is recruited to counteract “pre-prediabetic” states, potentially serving as a first-line protective mechanism against very early metabolic or hormonal abnormalities.

Brown fat is a type of fat that is activated when a person gets cold, producing heat to warm the body. The presence of brown fat was initially recognized on oncologic FDG PET/CT scans, which are now the most commonly used technique for the in vivo detection of brown fat. Studies using PET with FDG and/or other fatty acid tracers have demonstrated that brown fat consumes glucose and fatty acids, making it a potential target for the treatment of obesity and other metabolic disorders.

“The primary aim of this study was to assess if there are differences in baseline glucose, insulin, lipid, and other metabolite levels between subjects with varying amounts of brown fat,” says John P. Crandall, BS, clinical research coordinator at the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. “We also examined patient blood samples and lifestyles to assess their association with brown fat levels.”

Thirty-four healthy adult volunteers between the ages of 18 and 35 and with a body mass index (BMI) between 18 and 25 were enrolled in the study. Blood samples were taken, and lifestyle interviews were performed. To activate the brown fat, participants wore cooling suits to bring their body’s temperature to just above the shivering point. After two hours, subjects removed the cooling suits and were imaged with FDG PET/CT. Postcooling blood samples were also taken after removal of the cooling suits.

Activated brown fat was analyzed for each subject, and glucose, insulin, lipid, and other metabolite levels were correlated with the volume and intensity of the active brown fat. Using a median cutoff, participants were classified as having high brown fat levels or low brown fat levels.

Full story »
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