Brown adipose tissue (BAT) controls mammalian core body temperature by non-shivering thermogenesis. BAT is extraordinarily rich in mitochondria, which have the peculiarity of generating heat by uncoupled respiration. Since the mitochondrial activity of BAT is subject to cycles of activation and deactivation in response to environmental temperature changes, an integrated mitochondrial quality control (MQC) system is of fundamental importance to ensure BAT physiology. Here, we provide an overview of the conventional and alternative mechanisms through which thermogenic adipocytes selectively remove damaged parts of mitochondria and how macrophages participate in the MQC system by removing extracellular mitochondrial waste to maintain the thermogenic function of BAT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)517-529
Number of pages13
JournalTrends in Cell Biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2023


  • adipocytes
  • extracellular vesicles
  • immune cells
  • metabolism
  • mitochondrial transfer
  • thermogenesis


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