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Hallervorden-Spatz Disease
Joseph Junewick, MD FACR
over 10 years ago
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Brown Fat

Case Detail

Anatomy: Neck-Face
Joseph Junewick, MD FACR
Diagnostic Category: Normal variant
Created: over 9 years ago
Updated: over 9 years ago
Tags: PEDS
Modality/Study Types: CT
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1 month old former 34 week old with fever and facial swelling.

Case Images


Brown Fat

Clinical Notes

Other CT images showed inflammatory changes in the right parotid gland.


CT – Symmetric intensely enhancing subcutaneous fat.


Brown fat derives its name from its gross appearance; the brown color attributed to its extensive vascularity and proportion of mitochondria. The mitochondria within brown fat are responsible for its characteristic thermogenesis by expressing uncoupling protein-1 which dissipate heat by uncoupling oxidative respiration from the production of adenosine triphosphate and increasing anaerobic glycolysis. Norepinephrine is the primary regulator of brown fat thermogenesis although various growth factors (e.g., fibroblast and insulin-like growth factors) may also contribute. Brown fat typically accumulates within the neck, axillae, back, mediastinum, abdomen, and thigh. In the neonate, it constitutes approximately 5% of body weight. Brown fat also serves as cushioning and protection for vital body parts such as major blood vessels and mediastinal structures.


Carter BW and Schucany SG. Brown adipose tissue in a newborn. Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent) 2008;21(3):328–330.

Gupta P, Babyn PS, Shammas A, et al. Brown fat distribution in the chest wall of infants—normal appearance, distribution and evolution on CT scans of the chest. Pediatric Radiology (2011); 41(8): 1020-1027.


Charles R. Luttenton, MD

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