A cross-sectional study to assess the reliability of infrared thermography (IRT) in measuring brown adipose tissue (BAT) activation compared to PET-CT in overweight healthy male volunteers exposed to cold-stimulus
1st August 2017 - ongoing
Team: Professor Guruprasad Aithal.
The prevalence of obesity and its consequences are rising in the UK. Attempts at lifestyle strategies and drug therapies to tackle obesity have been generally unsuccessful. As such, there has been a lot of research into alternative therapeutic targets including brown adipose tissue (BAT). BAT is a thermogenic tissue that until recently was thought only to be metabolically active in neonates and children – where it plays an important role in adaptive thermogenesis, burning energy to maintain a constant body temperature in response to cold. The activation of BAT has therefore become an attractive treatment target for obesity and the metabolic syndrome.
Unfortunately, the gold standard for measuring BAT activity remains [18F]FDG PET-CT – an expensive modality that requires relatively high radiation exposure to participants. More recently, infrared thermography (IRT) has been utilised in a number of studies of BAT activity. The largest depots of BAT in adults, are within the neck, and when cold-stimulated, IRT can detect a rise in temperature of the overlying skin. It is not clear however, whether the same will be true in overweight individuals, whom pose additional challenges to thermal imaging. This study aims to confirm that BAT activity is measurable via IRT in overweight individuals, and to correlate these results with BAT activity noted on [18F]FDG PET-CT.
We will recruit 10 participants who will have baseline anthropometric and body composition measures taken. They will undergo IRT under baseline and cooling periods, following which they will undergo a [18F]FDG PET-CT. The aim is to show that activation of BAT as detected by [18F]FDG PET-CT will also be demonstrated using IRT in this group.