Automated quantitation of cold-inducible human brown adipose tissue with FDG PET/CT with application to fibromyalgia

Jose V. Pardo, Joel T. Lee, Robert C. Larson, Paul Thuras, Alice A. Larson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Increasing recognition of the importance of brown adipose tissue (BAT) motivates the development of reproducible and quantitative methods for measuring it. Positron emission tomography (PET)/computerized tomography (CT) with18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) has become the principal method to non-invasively detect brown adipose tissue (BAT) in humans. Improvements in quantitation and standardization will drive further clinical application. One disorder hypothesized to involve dysregulation in thermoregulation and the processing of pain involving BAT is fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). This report describes an approach with additional technical standardization to measure cold-inducible, BAT activity (ci-BAT) semi-quantitatively and reliably with minimal operator intervention with the FDG PET/CT technique. Ci-BAT was measured to test whether FMS patients have decreased BAT activation compared to normal controls. Threshold parameters to optimally separate ci-BAT from non-ci-BAT were developed based on the distribution of the pixel-wise parametric data from each merged PET/CT scan for each study session occurring on different days. BAT activity was the same under warm conditions in both control and FMS subjects attesting to reproducibility and reliability. However, considerable variability arose between groups at cool temperatures consistent with other literature. Increases in ci-BAT activity were significantly less in FMS patients than in controls, as hypothesized. Ci-BAT recruitment can be quantified non-invasively using FDG PET/CT using semi-automated techniques in human subjects across different diagnostic groups or within groups undergoing manipulations of interest.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-32
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Brown adipose tissue
  • Diabetes
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose
  • Glucose metabolism
  • Obesity
  • Positron emission tomography
  • Randall cycle
  • Software


Dive into the research topics of 'Automated quantitation of cold-inducible human brown adipose tissue with FDG PET/CT with application to fibromyalgia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this