Mitochondria Carrying EVs and Macrophages: Key Players in Brown Adipose Tissue Thermogenesis

Researchers led by Katia Aquilano and Daniele Lettieri-Barbato from the University of Rome Tor Vergata, published their findings in Cell Press by Elsevier, highlighting the critical function of extracellular vesicles (EVs) in regulating brown adipose tissue (BAT) thermogenesis.

The study demonstrated that under thermogenic stress, brown adipocytes release EVs containing damaged mitochondrial parts. These EVs, when reabsorbed by brown adipocytes, negatively impact thermogenesis by reducing peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ signaling and mitochondrial protein levels, including UCP1.

Furthermore, the research underscored the essential role of BAT-resident macrophages in removing these extracellular mitochondrial vesicles to maintain BAT physiology. Depletion of macrophages lead to the abnormal accumulation of EVs in BAT, impairing the thermogenic response to cold exposure.

These findings offer crucial insights into the mechanisms governing BAT thermogenesis, emphasizing the significance of EVs and tissue-resident macrophages in maintaining mitochondrial quality control.

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Photo Credits: Graphical Abstract – Rosina et al. Cell Press (2022)

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