Central neural regulation of brown adipose tissue thermogenesis and energy expenditure

Cell Metab. 2014 May 6;19(5):741-756. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2014.02.007. Epub 2014 Mar 13.


Thermogenesis, the production of heat energy, is the specific, neurally regulated, metabolic function of brown adipose tissue (BAT) and contributes to the maintenance of body temperature during cold exposure and to the elevated core temperature during several behavioral states, including wakefulness, the acute phase response (fever), and stress. BAT energy expenditure requires metabolic fuel availability and contributes to energy balance. This review summarizes the functional organization and neurochemical influences within the CNS networks governing the level of BAT sympathetic nerve activity to produce the thermoregulatory and metabolically driven alterations in BAT thermogenesis and energy expenditure that contribute to overall energy homeostasis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Body Temperature Regulation / physiology*
  • Central Nervous System / physiology*
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Thermogenesis / physiology*