Lower brown adipose tissue activity is associated with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease but not changes in the gut microbiota
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In rodents, lower brown adipose tissue (BAT) activity is associated with greater liver steatosis and changes in the gut microbiome. However, little is known about these relationships in humans. In adults (n = 60), we assessed hepatic fat and cold-stimulated BAT activity using magnetic resonance imaging and the gut microbiota with 16S sequencing. We transplanted gnotobiotic mice with feces from humans to assess the transferability of BAT activity through the microbiota. Individuals with NAFLD (n = 29) have lower BAT activity than those without, and BAT activity is inversely related to hepatic fat content. BAT activity is not related to the characteristics of the fecal microbiota and is not transmissible through fecal transplantation to mice. Thus, low BAT activity is associated with higher hepatic fat accumulation in human adults, but this does not appear to have been mediated through the gut microbiota.
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