LysoPC-acyl C16: 0 is associated with brown adipose tissue activity in men

Mariette R. Boon*, Leontine E. H. Bakker, Cornelia Prehn, Jerzy Adamski, Maarten J. Vosselman, Ingrid M. Jazet, Lenka M. Pereira Arias-Bouda, Wouter D. van Marken Lichtenbelt, Ko Willems van Dijk, Patrick C. N. Rensen, Dennis O. Mook-Kanamori

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Introduction Brown adipose tissue (BAT) recently emerged as a potential therapeutic target in the treatment of obesity and associated disorders due to its fat-burning capacity. The current gold standard in assessing BAT activity is -[F-18] FDG PET-CT scan, which has severe limitations including radiation exposure, being expensive, and being labor-intensive. Therefore, indirect markers are needed of human BAT activity and volume.

Objective We aimed to identify metabolites in serum that are associated with BAT volume and activity in men. Methods We assessed 163 metabolites in fasted serum of a cohort of twenty-two healthy lean men (age 24.1 (21.7-26.6) years, BMI 22.1 (20.5-23.4) kg/m(2)) who subsequently underwent a cold-induced -[F-18] FDG PETCT scan to assess BAT volume and activity. In addition, we included three replication cohorts consisting of in total thirty-seven healthy lean men that were similar with respect to age and BMI compared to the discovery cohort.

Results After correction for multiple testing, fasting concentrations of lysophosphatidylcholine-acyl (LysoPC-acyl) C16: 1, LysoPC-acyl C16: 0 and phosphatidylcholine-diacyl C32: 1 showed strong positive correlations with BAT volume (beta= 116 (85-148) mL, R-2 = 0.81, p = 4.6 x 10-7; beta = 79 (93-119) mL, R-2 = 0.57, p = 5.9 x 10(-4) and beta= 91 (40-141) mL, R-2 = 0.52, p = 1.0 x 10(-3), respectively) as well as with BAT activity (beta= 0.20 (0.11-0.29) g/mL, R-2 = 0.59, p = 1.9 x 10(-4); beta = 0.15 (0.06-0.23) g/mL, -R2 = 0.47, p = 2.0 x 10-3 and beta= 0.13 (0.01-0.25) g/mL, R-2 = 0.28, p = 0.04, respectively). When tested in three independent replication cohorts (total n = 37), the association remained significant between LysoPC-acyl C16: 0 and BAT activity in a pooled analysis (beta= 0.15 (0.07-0.23) g/mL, R-2 = 0.08, p = 4.2 x 10(-4)).

Conclusions LysoPC-acyl C16: 0 is associated with BAT activity in men. Since BAT is regarded as a promising tool in the battle against obesity and related disorders, the identification of such a noninvasive marker is highly relevant.

Original languageEnglish
Article number48
Number of pages9
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2017


  • [F-18] FDG PET-CT scan
  • Brown adipose tissue
  • LysoPC-acyl C16:0
  • Metabolomics
  • FAT

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