A Novel Marker for Brown Fat Activity - Exosomal microRNA-92 in serum reflects brown fat activity
Brown adipose tissue (BAT) is a special type of fat, which regulates the body temperature by fatty acid oxidation. High BAT activity is involved in leanness, whereas obesity comes along with a reduced activity of BAT. Therefore, the measurement of BAT activity is an important diagnostic parameter for various weight-related pathological conditions including diabetes, but was so far a complicated matter to measure. The current procedure utilizes glucose-based, radioactive tracer, positron-emission-tomographie combined with computer-tomography and requires pre-treatment of the patients by cold exposure.
The present invention is a technology that significantly simplifies the measurement of BAT by PCR-based quantification of exosomal microRNA-92a in serum. Exosomal miR-92a levels inversely correlate with BAT activity. This novel method is as the first of its kind qualified to routinely measure the BAT activity in large cohorts of patients.
The measurement of BAT activity is not only important in the diagnosis and treatment of weight-related diseases, but is also a screening tool for the development of drugs that regulate the BAT activity. Such drugs are of use in pathological leanness (e.g. cachexia), obesity and other metabolic diseases.
The invention has been validated by studies in mice and man.
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Chen J, Buyel JJ, Hanssen MJW, Siegel F, Pan R, Naumann J, Schell M, van der Lans A, Schlein C, Froehlich H, Heeren J, Virtanen KA, van Marken Lichtenbelt W, Pfeifer A. Exosomal microRNA miR-92a concentration in serum reflects human brown fat activity. Nature Communications; DOI: 10.1038/ncomms11420