Prevalence, Mass, and Glucose-Uptake Activity of 18F-FDG-Detected Brown Adipose Tissue in Humans Living in a Temperate Zone of Italy

Agnese Persichetti, Rosa Sciuto, Sandra Rea, Sabrina Basciani, Carla Lubrano, Stefania Mariani, Salvatore Ulisse, Italo Nofroni, Carlo Ludovico Maini, Lucio Gnessi

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Background:The 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG)-detected brown adipose tissue (BAT), is enhanced by cold stimulus and modulated by other factors that still have to be disentangled. We investigated the prevalence, mass, and glucose-uptake activity of 18F-FDG-detected BAT in a population of adults living in the temperate climatic zone of the Rome area.Methods and Findings:We retrospectively analyzed 6454 patients who underwent18F-FDG positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) examinations. We found 18F-FDG BAT in 217 of the 6454 patients (3.36%). Some of them underwent more than one scan and the positive scans were 278 among 8004 (3.47%). The prevalence of patients with at least one positive scan was lower in men (1.77%; 56 of 3161) compared with women (4.88%; 161 of 3293). The BAT positive patients were most frequently younger, thinner and with lower plasma glucose levels compared with BAT negative patients. The amount of BAT in the defined region of interest, the activity of BAT and the number of positive sites of active BAT were similar in both sexes. The prevalence of patients with 18F-FDG positive PET/CT was highest in December-February, lower in March-May and September-November, and lowest in June-August and was positively correlated with night length and negatively correlated with ambient temperature. Changes in day length and variations of temperature, associated with the prevalence of positive BAT patients. Among the patients who had multiple scans, outdoor temperature was significantly lower and day length was shorter on the occasion when BAT was detected.Conclusions:This study identifies day length, outdoor temperature, age, sex, BMI, and plasma glucose levels as major determinants of the prevalence, mass, and activity of 18F-FDG-detected BAT.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere63391
JournalPLoS One
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 10 2013


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Persichetti, A., Sciuto, R., Rea, S., Basciani, S., Lubrano, C., Mariani, S., Ulisse, S., Nofroni, I., Maini, C. L., & Gnessi, L. (2013). Prevalence, Mass, and Glucose-Uptake Activity of 18F-FDG-Detected Brown Adipose Tissue in Humans Living in a Temperate Zone of Italy. PLoS One, 8(5), [e63391].