While the role of BAT in maintaining body temperature is unambiguous, BATs contribution to body weight regulation is not well understood. Rothwell and Stock (Nature, 1979) showed that overfeeding rodents a high fat diet stimulated BAT, suggesting a role for BAT in limiting weight gain. However, the idea that BAT has this function is far from universally accepted. Experiments are now being designed and others underway using mice to examine the contribution of BAT to regulation of body weight (and adiposity) and insulin resistance.

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Ravussin, Yann; Xiao, Cuiying; Gavrilova, Oksana et al. (2014) Effect of intermittent cold exposure on brown fat activation, obesity, and energy homeostasis in mice. PLoS One 9:e85876