Title of the PhD thesis
Nutritional interventions controlling brown adipose tissue activity

Brown adipose tissue (BAT) is the main site of non-shivering thermogenesis in mammals. Heat produced by BAT upon adrenergic stimulation is essential for the survival of small rodents and hibernators in a cold environment, but also contributes to diet-induced thermogenesis. Uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) is ubiquitously expressed in the inner membrane of BAT mitochondria and mediates the uncoupling of fuel consumption from ATP production to dissipate energy as heat. Since BAT has a crucial role in energy balance regulation, ongoing research emphasizes its therapeutic potential to battle the global epidemics of obesity and type 2 diabetes. The recent discovery of functional BAT in healthy adults has raised great interest in increasing energy expenditure by enhancing BAT thermogenesis. Previous pharmacological approaches targeting BAT through sympathomimetics have failed due to detrimental cardiovascular side effects. We aim to identify novel nutritional interventions either mediating the activation of brown fat by non-sympathetic pathways, or facilitating the endogenous sympathetic activation.

Josef Oeckl
Technical University Munich
Chair for Molecular Nutritional Medicine

Prof. Dr. Martin Klingenspor