New review on the cold-induced improvements in glucose homeostasis in humans

The review from our colleague Dzhansel Hashim and former colleague Sten van Beek is now online available and will be published in  the International Journal of Obesity with the following title: “Physiological and molecular mechanisms of could-induced improvements in glucose homeostasis in humans beyond brown adipose tissue”.

The full article can be found here:

Read the abstract below.


Exposure to low ambient temperatures has previously been demonstrated to markedly improve glucose homeostasis in both rodents and humans. Although the brown adipose tissue is key in mediating these beneficial effects in rodents, its contribution appears more limited in humans. Hence, the exact tissues and underlying mechanisms that mediate cold-induced improvements in glucose homeostasis in humans remain to be fully established. In this review, we evaluated the response of the main organs involved in glucose metabolism (i.e. pancreas, liver, (white) adipose tissue, and skeletal muscle) to cold exposure and discuss their potential contribution to cold-induced improvements in glucose homeostasis in humans. We here show that cold exposure has widespread effects on metabolic organs involved in glucose regulation. Nevertheless, cold-induced improvements in glucose homeostasis appear primarily mediated via adaptations within the skeletal muscle and (presumably) white adipose tissue. Since the underlying mechanisms remain elusive, future studies should be aimed at pinpointing the exact physiological and molecular mechanisms involved in humans. Nonetheless, cold exposure holds great promise as a novel, additive lifestyle approach to improve glucose homeostasis in insulin resistant individuals. Parts of this graphical abstract were created using (modified) images from Servier Medical Art, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. TG = thermogenesis, TAG = triacylglycerol, FFA = free fatty acid, SLN = sarcolipin, UCP3 = uncoupling protein 3, β2-AR = beta-2 adrenergic receptor, SNS = sympathetic nervous system.