Can non-shivering thermogenesis in brown adipose tissue following NA injection be quantified by changes in overlying surface temperatures using infrared thermography?

D M. Jackson, C Hambly, P Trayhurn, J R. Speakman

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We aimed to investigate whether infra red thermography (IRT) can be used to measure and quantify non-shivering thermogenesis (NST) in the short-tailed field vole Microtus agrestis, by directly comparing it with a standard method, i.e. metabolic response following Noradrenaline injection (NA). Mean skin surface temperature overlying Brown adipose tissue (BAT) depot was 0.82 degrees C higher than mean surface temperature that did not overly BAT. The difference in temperature increased by 1.26 degrees C after NA was administered. Mean skin surface temperature overlying BAT increased by 0.32 degrees C after NA was administered; however, surface temperature decreased by 1.32 degrees C after saline was administered. Mean skin surface temperature overlying BAT did not change significantly between warm and cold acclimated voles; in contrast metabolic peak following NA injection significantly increased in cold acclimated voles. There was no significant correlation between change in surface temperature after NA injection and metabolic peak following NA injection. The results of this study suggest that IRT is not a sensitive enough method to measure changes in NST capacity in BAT following NA injection, or to detect changes in NST capacity induced by cold acclimation. However, IRT can distinguish between skin surfaces overlying BAT and skin surfaces that do not.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-93
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Thermal Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • brown adipose tissue (BAT)
  • non-shivering thermogenesis (NST)
  • infrared thermography (IRT)
  • Microtus agrestis
  • nonshivering thermogenesis
  • Djungarian hamster
  • oxygen-consumption
  • microtus-agrestis
  • benefits
  • flight
  • flow

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