During the last decades, the increase in the prevalence of obesity has led researchers to search for possible targets to prevent and treat body weight gain and the associated non-communicable chronic diseases (NCCD). Ten years ago the rediscovery of brown adipose tissue (BAT) using 18-fluorodeoxyglucose Positron Emission Tomography in combination with Computed Tomography (18-FDG PET/CT) has renewed the potential of this tissue to combat obesity. Differently of white adipose tissue, that has a primary role to store energy, BAT dissipates energy by producing heat and is found in large amounts in animals that hibernate. It has been shown that BAT can play an important role in the regulation of energy balance and that it can uptake glucose, which may indicate its ability to clearance glucose and treat diabetes. In addition, epidemiological studies have shown that BAT activity is inversely associated with obesity and metabolic diseases and there is evidence that it could act a "metabolic sink", thus, presenting a therapeutic potential for reducing obesity and its comorbidities. Recently, substantial advance was obtained in the methods to detect BAT; however, PET/CT is still regarded as the gold standard method and the method most commonly employed in clinical studies. The dynamic 18FDG PET scan, which allows a more precise quantification of BAT glucose uptake rate, has been used only by a few research groups (from Finland and Canada). In this study, we investigate the effects of olive oil consumption for four weeks in BAT volume and activity in lean and obese humans. As a result of the first period of training at the Turku PET Centre in 2018, our preliminary results indicate a trend of increasing BAT activity after the intake of olive oil only in lean, but not in obese volunteers. One of the outcomes of the training period in Turku was the inclusion of ten new subjects to be evaluated by dynamic PET. This information is important to confirm the preliminary data and to give more precise information regarding BAT Activity. The training abroad period and the discussions with Professor Kirsi Virtanen's group were very important in our decision to include dynamic PET scans in the last phase of our data collection. Furthermore, her group has been investigating the association between brain activation and BAT in lean and obese individuals using PET/CT and PET/MRi data, which is included in our objectives. Finally, her group has great expertise in the BAT field and we believe that this opportunity of training abroad (BEPE-FAPESP), which includes the manuscript preparation under her supervision, will improve the quality of our research and of the manuscripts derived from it.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: