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Brown Fat as a Regulator of Systemic Metabolism beyond Thermogenesis
Okamatsu-Ogura Yuko, Masayuki Saito
Diabetes Metab J. 2021;45(6):840-852.   Published online June 25, 2021
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Graphical AbstractGraphical Abstract AbstractAbstract PDFPubReader   ePub   
Brown adipose tissue (BAT) is a specialized tissue for nonshivering thermogenesis to dissipate energy as heat. Although BAT research has long been limited mostly in small rodents, the rediscovery of metabolically active BAT in adult humans has dramatically promoted the translational studies on BAT in health and diseases. Moreover, several remarkable advancements have been made in brown fat biology over the past decade: The molecular and functional analyses of inducible thermogenic adipocytes (socalled beige adipocytes) arising from a developmentally different lineage from classical brown adipocytes have been accelerated. In addition to a well-established thermogenic activity of uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1), several alternative thermogenic mechanisms have been discovered, particularly in beige adipocytes. It has become clear that BAT influences other peripheral tissues and controls their functions and systemic homeostasis of energy and metabolic substrates, suggesting BAT as a metabolic regulator, other than for thermogenesis. This notion is supported by discovering that various paracrine and endocrine factors are secreted from BAT. We review the current understanding of BAT pathophysiology, particularly focusing on its role as a metabolic regulator in small rodents and also in humans.


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Original Articles
Polymorphism of the Uncoupling Protein 1 (UCP-1) Gene and Fatty Acid Binding Protein 2 (FABP2) Gene in Korean Type 2 Diabetic Patients.
Sun Gyu Kim, Chul Hee Kim, Seog Ki Yun, Yeo Il Yun, Yong Hyun Kim, Il Song Nam, Ju Young Lee, Ji O Mok, Hyeong Kyu Park, Young Sun Kim, Dong Won Byun, Kyo Il Suh, Myung Hi Yoo
Korean Diabetes J. 2001;25(4):262-272.   Published online August 1, 2001
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AbstractAbstract PDF
It is well known that genetic component plays an important role in developing obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus. A number of candidate genes have been suggested, but the major gene determining the development of obesity and type 2 diabetes has not yet been uncovered. Previous studies suggest that polymorphisms of the intestinal fatty acid binding protein (FABP2) and uncoupling protein 1 (UCP-1) gene were related with obesity and/or insulin resistance in several populations. METHODS: We examined 76 type 2 diabetic patients (aged 44+/-6 years) and 96 healthy controls (aged 25+/-3 years). Ala54Thr polymorphism of the FABP2 gene and A to G polymorphism (-3826) of the UCP-1 gene were determined by polymerase chain reaction and restriction fragment length polymorphism method. RESULTS: The Thr54 allele of the FABP2 gene was found with a frequency of 0.33 in nondiabetic controls and 0.36 in type 2 diabetic patients. The genotype frequency of the Ala54Thr polymorphism was similar in nondiabetic and diabetic subjects ( 2=0.87, P=0.64). The -3826 G allele of UCP-1 gene was found with a frequency of 0.51 in nondiabetic controls, and 0.46 in type 2 diabetic patients. The genotype frequency of the -3826 A to G polymorphism was also similar in nondiabetic and diabetic subjects ( 2=1.46, p=0.46). When the subjects of each groups were subdivided into nonobese and obese group by BMI of 25 kg/m2, there was no significant difference in genotype frequencies of the UCP-1 and FABP2 gene polymorphisms. CONCLUSION: These results suggest that either the Ala54Thr polymorphism of the FABP2 gene or the A to G polymorphism (-3826) of UCP-1 gene do not play a major role in developing type 2 diabetes mellitus or obesity in Korean.
Association Between Uncoupling Protein-1 and 3-adrenergic Receptor Gene Polymorphisms and Energy Metabolism in normal Korean Adults.
Jae Han Kim, Seog Ki Yun, Chul Hee Kim, Dong Won Byun, Young Sun Kim, Kyo Il Suh, Myung Hi Yoo
Korean Diabetes J. 1999;23(6):803-813.   Published online January 1, 2001
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  • 18 Download
AbstractAbstract PDF
The beta3-adrenergic receptor (beta3-AR) and uncoupling protein 1 (UCP-1), expressed mainly in brown adipose tissue, are involved in the regulation of thermogenesis and lipolysis. Recent studies have shown that polymorphisms of the 3-AR (Trp64Arg) and UCP-1 (-3826, A to G) genes are associated with low basal metabolic rate (BMR) and obesity. METHODS: We investigated the effects of the beta3- AR and UCP-1 gene polymorphisms on body fat and energy metabolism in 65 normal Korean men aged from 21 to 36 years. The Trp64Arg mutation of the beta3-AR gene and A to G polymorphism (-3826) of UCP-1 gene were detected by polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) method. RESULT: In normal Koreans, Arg64 allele frequency of the beta3-AR was 0.15 and the allele frequency of the A to G substitution of the UCP-1 gene was 0.48. No significant difference was found in BMR, body fat and abdominal fat amount in relation to beta3-AR or UCP-1 genotypes. However, when the polymorphisms of the two genes were combined, the subjects with the polymorphisms of both UCP-1 and g-AR genes were found to have higher body mass index, higher total fat and abdominal fat amount, lower BMR, and lower fat oxidation rate when compared with the subjects without these polymorphisms. CONCLUSION: These results suggest that the polymorphisms of either beta3-AR or UCP-1 gene alone did not significantly affect BMR, fat oxidation and body fat amounts, but both UCP-1 and beta3-AR genes polymorphisms have synergistic effects on decreased basal metabolic rate, fat oxidation rate, and increased body fat in normal Korean adults.

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