Brown adipose tissue (BAT) has been proposed as a potential target tissue against obesity and its related metabolic complications. Although the molecular and functional characteristics of BAT have been intensively studied in rodents, only a few studies have used human BAT specimens due to the difficulty of sampling human BAT deposits. We established a novel positron emission tomography and computed tomography-guided Bergström needle biopsy technique to acquire human BAT specimens from the supraclavicular area in human subjects. Forty-three biopsies were performed on 23 participants. The procedure was tolerated well by the majority of participants. No major complications were noted. Numbness (9.6%) and hematoma (2.3%) were the two minor complications noted, which fully resolved. Thus, the proposed biopsy technique can be considered safe with only minimal risk of adverse events. Adoption of the proposed method is expected to increase the sampling of the supraclavicular BAT depot for research purposes so as to augment the scientific knowledge of the biology of human BAT.
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The authors want to thank the study participants and the nursing and administrative personnel at the Institute of Translational Sciences Clinical Research Center at the University of Texas Medical Branch and the Metabolism Unit, Shriners Hospital for Children, Galveston, TX, USA. We thank Sarah Toombs Smith of the Sealy Center on Aging, University of Texas Medical Branch, for manuscript editing; Sebastien M Labbé for generating the PET/CT images; Nicholas M Hurren for taking the pictures during the biopsy procedure; Rajesh Kumar of the Department of Nuclear Medicine, University of Texas Medical Branch, for performing the PET/CT scans. This study was conducted with the support of the Institute for Translational Sciences at the University of Texas Medical Branch, supported in part by a Clinical and Translational Science Award (UL1TR000071) from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health; the American Diabetes Association (1-14-TS-35 to LSS); Shriners Hospitals for Children (grants 84090 and 85310 to LSS); the John Sealy Memorial Endowment Fund for Biomedical Research (grant 66992 to LSS); Ajinomoto Co., Inc. (grant 445800 to LSS) and the Sealy Center on Aging (grant to LSS). MC is funded by the Onassis Foundation. CP is supported, in part, by a National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research Postdoctoral Training Grant, National Institutes of Health (H133P110012).