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Brown adipose tissue: physiological function and evolutionary significance


Oelkrug, R and Polymeropoulos, ET and Jastroch, M, Brown adipose tissue: physiological function and evolutionary significance, Journal of Comparative Physiology. B, 185, (6) pp. 587-606. ISSN 0174-1578 (2015) [Substantial Review]

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DOI: doi:10.1007/s00360-015-0907-7


In modern eutherian (placental) mammals, brown adipose tissue (BAT) evolved as a specialized thermogenic organ that is responsible for adaptive non-shivering thermogenesis (NST). For NST, energy metabolism of BAT mitochondria is increased by activation of uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1), which dissipates the proton motive force as heat. Despite the presence of UCP1 orthologues prior to the divergence of teleost fish and mammalian lineages, UCP1’s significance for thermogenic adipose tissue emerged at later evolutionary stages. Recent studies on the presence of BAT in metatherians (marsupials) and eutherians of the afrotherian clade provide novel insights into the evolution of adaptive NST in mammals. In particular studies on the ‘protoendothermic’ lesser hedgehog tenrec (Afrotheria) suggest an evolutionary scenario linking BAT to the onset of eutherian endothermy. Here, we review the physiological function and distribution of BAT in an evolutionary context by focusing on the latest research on phylogenetically distinct species.

Item Details

Item Type:Substantial Review
Keywords:mammals, UCP1, non-shivering thermogenesis
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Zoology
Research Field:Animal physiological ecology
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences
UTAS Author:Polymeropoulos, ET (Dr Elias Polymeropoulos)
ID Code:111001
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:143
Deposited By:Sustainable Marine Research Collaboration
Deposited On:2016-08-25
Last Modified:2016-08-25

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