Contribution of Brown Adipose Tissue Activity to the Control of Energy Balance by GLP-1 Receptor Signalling in Mice

Diabetologia. 2015 Sep;58(9):2124-32. doi: 10.1007/s00125-015-3651-3. Epub 2015 Jun 7.


Aims/hypothesis: We assessed the contribution of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor (GLP-1R) signalling to thermogenesis induced by high-fat diet (HFD) consumption. Furthermore, we determined whether brown adipose tissue (BAT) activity contributes to weight loss induced by chronic subcutaneous treatment with the GLP-1R agonist, liraglutide, in a model of diet-induced obesity.

Methods: Metabolic phenotyping was performed using indirect calorimetry in wild-type (WT) and Glp1r-knockout (KO) mice during chow and HFD feeding at room temperature and at thermoneutrality. In a separate study, we investigated the contribution of BAT thermogenic capacity to the weight lowering effect induced by GLP-1 mimetics by administering liraglutide (10 or 30 nmol kg(-1) day(-1) s.c.) to diet-induced obese (DIO) mice for 6 or 4 weeks, respectively. In both studies, animals were subjected to a noradrenaline (norepinephrine)-stimulated oxygen consumption [Formula: see text] test.

Results: At thermoneutrality, HFD-fed Glp1r-KO mice had similar energy expenditure (EE) compared with HFD-fed WT controls. However, HFD-fed Glp1r-KO mice exhibited relatively less EE when housed at a cooler standard room temperature, and had relatively lower [Formula: see text] in response to a noradrenaline challenge, which is consistent with impaired BAT thermogenic capacity. In contrast to the loss of function model, chronic peripheral liraglutide treatment did not increase BAT activity as determined by noradrenaline-stimulated [Formula: see text] and BAT gene expression.

Conclusions/interpretation: These data suggest that although endogenous GLP-1R signalling contributes to increased BAT thermogenesis, this mechanism does not play a significant role in the food intake-independent body weight lowering effect of the GLP-1 mimetic liraglutide in DIO mice.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Body Composition
  • Calorimetry, Indirect
  • Diet
  • Diet, High-Fat
  • Eating
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / metabolism*
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Receptor / metabolism*
  • Liraglutide / chemistry
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mice, Obese
  • Norepinephrine / chemistry
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Phenotype
  • Signal Transduction
  • Temperature
  • Thermogenesis


  • Glp1r protein, mouse
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Receptor
  • Liraglutide
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1
  • Norepinephrine