White adipose tissue contributes to UCP1-independent thermogenesis

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2003 Dec;285(6):E1230-6. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00197.2003. Epub 2003 Sep 3.


Beta3-adrenergic receptors (AR) are nearly exclusively expressed in brown and white adipose tissues, and chronic activation of these receptors by selective agonists has profound anti-diabetes and anti-obesity effects. This study examined metabolic responses to acute and chronic beta3-AR activation in wild-type C57Bl/6 mice and congenic mice lacking functional uncoupling protein (UCP)1, the molecular effector of brown adipose tissue (BAT) thermogenesis. Acute activation of beta3-AR doubled metabolic rate in wild-type mice and sharply elevated body temperature and BAT blood flow, as determined by laser Doppler flowmetry. In contrast, beta3-AR activation did not increase BAT blood flow in mice lacking UCP1 (UCP1 KO). Nonetheless, beta3-AR activation significantly increased metabolic rate and body temperature in UCP1 KO mice, demonstrating the presence of UCP1-independent thermogenesis. Daily treatment with the beta3-AR agonist CL-316243 (CL) for 6 days increased basal and CL-induced thermogenesis compared with naive mice. This expansion of basal and CL-induced metabolic rate did not require UCP1 expression. Chronic CL treatment of UCP1 KO mice increased basal and CL-stimulated metabolic rate of epididymal white adipose tissue (EWAT) fourfold but did not alter BAT thermogenesis. After chronic CL treatment, CL-stimulated thermogenesis of EWAT equaled that of interscapular BAT per tissue mass. The elevation of EWAT metabolism was accompanied by mitochondrial biogenesis and the induction of genes involved in lipid oxidation. These observations indicate that chronic beta3-AR activation induces metabolic adaptation in WAT that contributes to beta3-AR-mediated thermogenesis. This adaptation involves lipid oxidation in situ and does not require UCP1 expression.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / cytology*
  • Adipose Tissue / drug effects
  • Adipose Tissue / physiology*
  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / drug effects
  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / physiology
  • Adrenergic beta-3 Receptor Antagonists
  • Animals
  • Carrier Proteins / physiology*
  • Dioxoles / pharmacology
  • Ion Channels
  • Membrane Proteins / deficiency*
  • Membrane Proteins / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Norepinephrine
  • Oxygen Consumption / drug effects
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta-3 / metabolism*
  • Thermogenesis / drug effects
  • Thermogenesis / physiology*
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Uncoupling Protein 1


  • Adrenergic beta-3 Receptor Antagonists
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Dioxoles
  • Ion Channels
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta-3
  • Ucp1 protein, mouse
  • Uncoupling Protein 1
  • disodium (R,R)-5-(2-((2-(3-chlorophenyl)-2-hydroxyethyl)-amino)propyl)-1,3-benzodioxole-2,3-dicarboxylate
  • Norepinephrine