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Brown adipose tissue activation as measured by infrared thermography by mild anticipatory psychological stress in lean healthy females

Robinson, Lindsay J.; Law, James; Symonds, Michael E.; Budge, Helen

Authors

Lindsay J. Robinson

James Law

Michael E. Symonds

HELEN BUDGE HELEN.BUDGE@NOTTINGHAM.AC.UK
Professor of Neonatal Medicine



Abstract

Brown adipose tissue (BAT) has been implicated in the pathogenesis of obesity, type 2 diabetes and the metabolic syndrome and is a potential therapeutic target. Brown adipose tissue can have a significant impact on energy balance and glucose homeostasis through the action of uncoupling protein 1, dissipating chemical energy as heat following neuroendocrine stimulation. We hypothesized that psychological stress, which is known to promote cortisol secretion, would simultaneously activate BAT at thermoneutrality. Brown adipose tissue activity was measured using infrared thermography to determine changes in the temperature of the skin overlying supraclavicular BAT (TSCR). A mild psychological stress was induced in five healthy, lean, female, Caucasian volunteers using a short mental arithmetic (MA) test. The TSCR was compared with a repeated assessment, in which the MA test was replaced with a period of relaxation. Although MA did not elicit an acute stress response, anticipation of MA testing led to an increase in salivary cortisol, indicative of an anticipatory stress response, that was associated with a trend towards higher absolute and relative TSCR. A positive correlation between TSCR and cortisol was found during the anticipatory phase, a relationship that was enhanced by increased cortisol linked to MA. Our findings suggest that subtle changes in the level of psychological stress can stimulate BAT, findings that may account for the high variability and inconsistency in reported BAT prevalence and activity measured by other modalities. Consistent assessment of this uniquely metabolic tissue is fundamental to the discovery of potential therapeutic strategies against metabolic disease.

Citation

Robinson, L. J., Law, J., Symonds, M. E., & Budge, H. (2016). Brown adipose tissue activation as measured by infrared thermography by mild anticipatory psychological stress in lean healthy females. Experimental Physiology, 101(4), https://doi.org/10.1113/EP085642

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 19, 2016
Online Publication Date Feb 18, 2016
Publication Date Apr 1, 2016
Deposit Date Oct 18, 2016
Publicly Available Date Oct 18, 2016
Journal Experimental Physiology
Print ISSN 0958-0670
Electronic ISSN 1469-445X
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 101
Issue 4
DOI https://doi.org/10.1113/EP085642
Keywords Brown adipose tissue, Cortisol, Psychological stress
Public URL https://nottingham-repository.worktribe.com/output/778022
Publisher URL http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1113/EP085642/abstract
Additional Information This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Robinson, L. J., Law, J. M., Symonds, M. E. and Budge, H. (2016), Brown adipose tissue activation as measured by infrared thermography by mild anticipatory psychological stress in lean healthy females. Exp Physiol, 101: 549–557, which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1113/EP085642. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

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