Subcutaneous adipose tissue free fatty acid uptake measured using positron emission tomography and adipose biopsies in humans

Yanli Cao, Nicola Gathaiya, Qiaojun Han, Bradley J. Kemp, Michael D. Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Positron emission tomography (PET) radiopharmaceuticals can noninvasively measure free fatty acid (FFA) uptake into adipose tissue. We studied 29 volunteers to test whether abdominal and femoral subcutaneous adipose tissue FFA uptake measured using [1-11C]palmitate PET agrees with FFA storage rates measured using an intravenous bolus of [1-14C]palmitate and adipose biopsies. The dynamic left ventricular cavity PET images combined with blood sample radioactivity corrected for the 11CO2 content were used to create the blood time activity curve (TAC), and the constant (Ki) was determined using Patlak analysis of the TACs generated for regions of interest in abdominal subcutaneous fat. These data were used to calculate palmitate uptake rates in abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue (µmol·kg-1·min-1). Immediately after the dynamic imaging, a static image of the thigh was taken to measure the standardized uptake value (SUV) in thigh adipose tissue, which was scaled to each participant's abdominal adipose tissue SUV to calculate thigh adipose palmitate uptake rates. Abdominal adipose palmitate uptake using PET [1-11C]palmitate was correlated with, but significantly (P < 0.001) greater than, FFA storage measured using [1-14C]palmitate and adipose biopsy. Thigh adipose palmitate measured using PET calculation was positively correlated (R2 = 0.44, P < 0.0001) with and not different from the biopsy approach. The relative differences between PET measured abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue palmitate uptake and biopsy-measured palmitate storage were positively correlated (P = 0.03) with abdominal subcutaneous fat. We conclude that abdominal adipose tissue FFA uptake measured using PET does not equate to adipose FFA storage measured using biopsy techniques.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E194-E199
JournalAmerican journal of physiology. Endocrinology and metabolism
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019


  • Patlak analysis
  • [1-C]palmitate
  • [U-C]palmitate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Subcutaneous adipose tissue free fatty acid uptake measured using positron emission tomography and adipose biopsies in humans'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this