The Effect of Hyperbaric Therapy on Brown Adipose Tissue in Rats

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Aug 31;18(17):9165. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18179165.


Brown adipose tissue (BAT) plays an important role in thermogenic regulation, which contributes to alleviating diet-induced obesity through uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) expression. While cold exposure and physical exercise are known to increase BAT development and UCP1 expression, the contribution of hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy to BAT maturation remains largely unknown. Here, we show that HBO treatment sufficiently increases BAT volumes and thermogenic protein levels in Sprague-Dawley rats. Through 18F-FDG PET/CT analysis, we found that exposure to high-pressure oxygen (1.5-2.5 ATA) for 7 consecutive days increased radiolabeled glucose uptake and BAT development to an extent comparable to cold exposure. Consistent with BAT maturation, thermogenic protein levels, such as those of UCP1 and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ coactivator 1α (PGC-1α), were largely increased by HBO treatment. Taken together, we suggest HBO therapy as a novel method of inducing BAT development, considering its therapeutic potential for the treatment of metabolic disorders.

Keywords: brown adipose tissue; hyperbaric treatment; metabolic syndrome; oxygen.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue, Brown*
  • Animals
  • Cold Temperature
  • Hyperbaric Oxygenation*
  • Positron Emission Tomography Computed Tomography
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Uncoupling Protein 1 / genetics


  • Uncoupling Protein 1