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Review
, 221 (Pt Suppl 1)

Exercise-induced Adaptations to White and Brown Adipose Tissue

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Review

Exercise-induced Adaptations to White and Brown Adipose Tissue

Adam C Lehnig et al. J Exp Biol.

Abstract

The beneficial effects of exercise on skeletal muscle and the cardiovascular system have long been known. Recent studies have focused on investigating the effects of exercise on adipose tissue and the effects that these exercise-induced adaptations have on overall metabolic health. Examination of exercise-induced adaptations in both white adipose tissue (WAT) and brown adipose tissue (BAT) has revealed marked differences in each tissue with exercise. In WAT, there are changes to both subcutaneous WAT (scWAT) and visceral WAT (vWAT), including decreased adipocyte size and lipid content, increased expression of metabolic genes, altered secretion of adipokines and increased mitochondrial activity. Adaptations specific to scWAT include lipidomic remodeling of phospholipids and, in rodents, the beiging of scWAT. The changes to BAT are less clear: studies evaluating the effect of exercise on the BAT of humans and rodents have revealed contradictory data, making this an important area of current investigation. In this Review, we discuss the exercise-induced changes to WAT and BAT that have been reported by different studies and highlight the current questions in this field.

Keywords: Adipose tissue; Exercise; Metabolism.

Conflict of interest statement

Competing interestsThe authors declare no competing or financial interests.

Figures

Fig. 1.
Fig. 1.
Exercise-induced adaptations to white adipose tissue (WAT) and brown adipose tissue (BAT). Exercise-induced adaptations to WAT include increased mitochondrial activity, beiging of scWAT in rodents, changes to the lipidome and altered adipokine secretion. Exercise-induced adaptations to BAT include changes to mitochondrial activity, adaptations to the lipidome and decreases in glucose uptake in humans.
Fig. 2.
Fig. 2.
Transplantation of trained subcutaneous white adipose tissue (scWAT) improves glucose tolerance. Mice were transplanted with scWAT (0.85 g) or vWAT (1.0 g) from sedentary or trained mice or were sham operated. For glucose tolerance tests (GTTs), mice were injected with glucose 2 g kg−1 body mass i.p. (A) GTT at 9 days post-transplantation for mice transplanted with scWAT and (B) GTT at 9 days post-transplantation for mice transplanted with vWAT. Data are means±s.e.m. (N=5–12 per group). *P<0.05, ***P<0.001. Adapted from Stanford et al. (2015a).
Fig. 3.
Fig. 3.
Decreased uptake of 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose ([18F]FDG) in brown adipose tissue (BAT) during cold exposure in trained subjects. (A) Representative [18F]FDG-positron emission tomography images demonstrating glucose uptake in trained and untrained test subjects. Black arrows indicate supraclavicular BAT. (B) The average [18F]FDG uptake (standardized uptake value, SUVmean) measured in multiple tissues in trained and untrained subjects. SM, skeletal muscle; scWAT, subcutaneous white adipose tissue; vWAT, visceral WAT. (C,D) BAT activity, in SUVtotal (C) and SUVmax (D), in trained and untrained subjects. Differences between groups were measured using independent sample t-tests. Values are expressed as means±s.d. *P<0.05. Adapted with permission from Springer Customer Service Centre GmbH [Springer/Nature; International Journal of Obesity, Low brown adipose tissue activity in endurance trained compared to lean sedentary men; M. J. Vosselman, J. Hoeks, B. Brans, H. Pallubinsky, E. B. Nascimento, A. A. van der Lans, E. P. Broeders, F. M. Mottaghy, P. Schrauwen and W. D. van Marken Lichtenbelt (2015)].

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