Significance and application of melatonin in the regulation of brown adipose tissue metabolism

Relation to human obesity

D. X. Tan, L. C. Manchester, L. Fuentes-Broto, S. D. Paredes, Russel J Reiter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

180 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A worldwide increase in the incidence of obesity indicates the unsuccessful battle against this disorder. Obesity and the associated health problems urgently require effective strategies of treatment. The new discovery that a substantial amount of functional brown adipose tissue (BAT) is retained in adult humans provides a potential target for treatment of human obesity. BAT is active metabolically and disposes of extra energy via generation of heat through uncoupling oxidative phosphorylation in mitochondria. The physiology of BAT is readily regulated by melatonin, which not only increases recruitment of brown adipocytes but also elevates their metabolic activity in mammals. It is speculated that the hypertrophic effect and functional activation of BAT induced by melatonin may likely apply to the human. Thus, melatonin, a naturally occurring substance with no reported toxicity, may serve as a novel approach for treatment of obesity. Conversely, because of the availability of artificial light sources, excessive light exposure after darkness onset in modern societies should be considered a potential contributory factor to human obesity as light at night dramatically reduces endogenous melatonin production. In the current article, the potential associations of melatonin, BAT, obesity and the medical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-188
Number of pages22
JournalObesity Reviews
Volume12
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2011

Fingerprint

Brown Adipose Tissue
Melatonin
Obesity
Light
Brown Adipocytes
Darkness
Oxidative Phosphorylation
Mammals
Mitochondria
Therapeutics
Hot Temperature
Incidence
Health

Keywords

  • Antioxidant
  • Brown adipose tissue
  • Melatonin
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

Cite this

Significance and application of melatonin in the regulation of brown adipose tissue metabolism : Relation to human obesity. / Tan, D. X.; Manchester, L. C.; Fuentes-Broto, L.; Paredes, S. D.; Reiter, Russel J.

In: Obesity Reviews, Vol. 12, No. 3, 03.2011, p. 167-188.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Tan, D. X. ; Manchester, L. C. ; Fuentes-Broto, L. ; Paredes, S. D. ; Reiter, Russel J. / Significance and application of melatonin in the regulation of brown adipose tissue metabolism : Relation to human obesity. In: Obesity Reviews. 2011 ; Vol. 12, No. 3. pp. 167-188.
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