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Tracing human brown fat

Adipocyte progenitors have the capacity to differentiate into mature brown adipocytes with thermogenic capabilities. Two new studies identify novel markers to help prospectively isolate these and mature adipocytes from human brown fat biopsies.

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Figure 1: Translating adipose marker genes: Brown adipocytes have the ability to combust glucose and lipids to produce heat via UCP1 in the mitochondria.

Marina Corral Spence/Nature Publishing Group


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Correspondence to Wouter D van Marken Lichtenbelt.

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Boon, M., Nascimento, E. & van Marken Lichtenbelt, W. Tracing human brown fat. Nat Med 21, 667–668 (2015).

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