Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Irvine

UC Irvine Previously Published Works bannerUC Irvine

In vivo isotope tracing reveals the versatility of glucose as a brown adipose tissue substrate.


Active brown adipose tissue (BAT) consumes copious amounts of glucose, yet how glucose metabolism supports thermogenesis is unclear. By combining transcriptomics, metabolomics, and stable isotope tracing in vivo, we systematically analyze BAT glucose utilization in mice during acute and chronic cold exposure. Metabolite profiling reveals extensive temperature-dependent changes in the BAT metabolome and transcriptome upon cold adaptation, discovering unexpected metabolite markers of thermogenesis, including increased N-acetyl-amino acid production. Time-course stable isotope tracing further reveals rapid incorporation of glucose carbons into glycolysis and TCA cycle, as well as several auxiliary pathways, including NADPH, nucleotide, and phospholipid synthesis pathways. Gene expression differences inconsistently predict glucose fluxes, indicating that posttranscriptional mechanisms also govern glucose utilization. Surprisingly, BAT swiftly generates fatty acids and acyl-carnitines from glucose, suggesting that lipids are rapidly synthesized and immediately oxidized. These data reveal versatility in BAT glucose utilization, highlighting the value of an integrative-omics approach to understanding organ metabolism.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View