MR properties of brown and white adipose tissues

Author(s): Hamilton G, Smith DL Jr, Bydder M, Nayak KS, Hu HH


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: (1) H 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.

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