Brown fat fuel utilization and thermogenesis

Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2014 Apr;25(4):168-77. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2013.12.004. Epub 2014 Jan 2.


Brown adipose tissue (BAT) dissipates energy as heat to maintain optimal thermogenesis and to contribute to energy expenditure in rodents and possibly humans. The energetic processes executed by BAT require a readily-available fuel supply, which includes glucose and fatty acids (FAs). FAs become available by cellular uptake, de novo lipogenesis, and multilocular lipid droplets in brown adipocytes. BAT also possesses a great capacity for glucose uptake and metabolism, and an ability to regulate insulin sensitivity. These properties make BAT an appealing target for the treatment of obesity, diabetes, and other metabolic disorders. Recent research has provided a better understanding of the processes of fuel utilization carried out by brown adipocytes, which is the focus of the current review.

Keywords: brown adipose tissue; energy expenditure; uncoupling protein 1.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Thermogenesis / physiology


  • Glucose