Characterization of Brown Adipose Tissue in a Diabetic Mouse Model with Spiral Volumetric Optoacoustic Tomography

  • Avihai Ron
  • Xosé Luís Deán-Ben
  • Josephine Reber
  • Vasilis Ntziachristos
  • Daniel Razansky
Brief Article



Diabetes is associated with a deterioration of the microvasculature in brown adipose tissue (BAT) and with a decrease in its metabolic activity. Multispectral optoacoustic tomography has been recently proposed as a new tool capable of differentiating healthy and diabetic BAT by observing hemoglobin gradients and microvasculature density in cross-sectional (2D) views. We report on the use of spiral volumetric optoacoustic tomography (SVOT) for an improved characterization of BAT.


A streptozotocin-induced diabetes model and control mice were scanned with SVOT. Volumetric oxygen saturation (sO2) as well as total blood volume (TBV) in the subcutaneous interscapular BAT (iBAT) was quantified. Segmentation further enabled separating feeding and draining vessels from the BAT anatomical structure.


Scanning revealed a 46 % decrease in TBV and a 25 % decrease in sO2 in the diabetic iBAT with respect to the healthy control.


These results suggest that SVOT may serve as an effective tool for studying the effects of diabetes on BAT. The volumetric optoacoustic imaging probe used for the SVOT scans can be operated in a handheld mode, thus potentially providing a clinical translation route for BAT-related studies with this imaging technology.

Key words

Optoacoustic Brown fat Metabolism Hemoglobin Oxygen saturation Adipose tissue Angiopathy 



The authors wish to thank Mr. Uwe Klemm and Mr. Michael Reiss for their support with animal handling.

Funding Information

The work leading to these results was partially supported by the Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) Grant RGY0070/201 and the European Research Council Grant ERC-2015-CoG-682379. Support from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), Germany [Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize 2013; NT 3/10-1], and from the European Research Council (ERC) under grant agreement No 694968 (PREMSOT) is further acknowledged.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethics Approval and Consent to Participate

Not applicable.

Consent for Publication

Not applicable.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11307_2018_1291_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (242 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 242 kb)


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Copyright information

© World Molecular Imaging Society 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Avihai Ron
    • 1
  • Xosé Luís Deán-Ben
    • 1
  • Josephine Reber
    • 1
  • Vasilis Ntziachristos
    • 1
  • Daniel Razansky
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Biological and Medical ImagingTechnical University of Munich and Helmholtz Center MunichMunichGermany

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