MR properties of brown and white adipose tissues

Academic Article


  • Purpose: To explore the MR signatures of brown adipose tissue (BAT) compared with white adipose tissue (WAT) using single-voxel MR spectroscopy. Materials and Methods: 1H MR STEAM spectra were acquired from a 3 Tesla clinical whole body scanner from seven excised murine adipose tissue samples of BAT (n = 4) and WAT (n = 3). Spectra were acquired at multiple echo times (TEs) and inversion times (TIs) to measure the T1, T2, and T2-corrected peak areas. A theoretical triglyceride model characterized the fat in terms of number of double bonds (ndb) and number of methylene-interrupted double bonds (nmidb). Results: Negligible differences between WAT and BAT were seen in the T1 and T2 of fat and the T2 of water. However, the water fraction in BAT was higher (48.5%) compared with WAT (7.1%) and the T1 of water was lower in BAT (618 ms) compared with WAT (1053 ms). The fat spectrum also differed, indicating lower levels of unsaturated triglycerides in BAT (ndb = 2.7, nmidb = 0.7) compared with WAT (ndb = 3.3, nmidb = 1.0). Conclusion: We have demonstrated that there are several key MR-based signatures of BAT and WAT that may allow differentiation on MR imaging. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Hamilton G; Smith DL; Bydder M; Nayak KS; Hu HH
  • Start Page

  • 468
  • End Page

  • 473
  • Volume

  • 34
  • Issue

  • 2