The occurrence of brown adipose tissue in outdoor workers

Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 1981;46(4):339-45. doi: 10.1007/BF00422121.


Histochemical reactions and activities of mitochondrial enzymes in adipose tissue around the neck arteries and in pericardium were studied in men who had been outdoor workers in northern Finland. The purpose was to study the occurrence of brown fat in workers having been exposed to cool or cold ambient temperature. Indoor workers of the same age were used as controls. Histochemically, no mitochondrial enzyme reactions were seen in the adipose tissues taken from the indoor workers, whereas some outdoor workers had some multilocular adipose tissue, mostly around the neck arteries. Biochemical parameters also showed increased enzyme activities of aerobic energy metabolism in the adipose tissue of these people. The present results suggest that working in the cold can retain brown adipose tissue in "strategic" places in human adults.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / enzymology
  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / physiology*
  • Adult
  • Autopsy
  • Body Temperature Regulation
  • Cold Climate*
  • Electron Transport Complex IV / metabolism
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Finland
  • Humans
  • Hydroxybutyrate Dehydrogenase / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Monoamine Oxidase / metabolism
  • Succinate Dehydrogenase / metabolism


  • Hydroxybutyrate Dehydrogenase
  • Succinate Dehydrogenase
  • Monoamine Oxidase
  • Electron Transport Complex IV