Activation of β3-adrenoceptors increases in vivo free fatty acid uptake and utilization in brown but not white fat depots in high-fat-fed rats

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2016 Dec 1;311(6):E901-E910. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00204.2016. Epub 2016 Oct 25.


Activation of brown adipose tissue (BAT) and browning of white adipose tissue (WAT) present potential new therapies for obesity and type 2 diabetes. Here, we examined the effects of β3-adrenergic stimulation on tissue-specific uptake and storage of free fatty acids (FFA) and its implications for whole body FFA metabolism in diet-induced obese rats using a multi-radiotracer technique. Male Wistar rats were high fat-fed for 12 wk and administered β3-agonist CL316,243 (CL, 1 mg·kg-1·day-1) or saline via osmotic minipumps during the last 3 wk. The rats were then fasted and acutely infused with a tracer mixture ([14C]palmitate and the partially metabolized R-[3H]bromopalmitate) under anesthesia. CL infusion decreased body weight gain and fasting plasma glucose levels. While core body temperature was unaffected, infrared thermography showed an increase in tail heat dissipation following CL infusion. Interestingly, CL markedly increased both FFA storage and utilization in interscapular and perirenal BAT, whereas the flux of FFA to skeletal muscle was decreased. In this rat model of obesity, only sporadic populations of beige adipocytes were detected in the epididymal WAT depot of CL-infused rats, and there was no change in FFA uptake or utilization in WAT following CL infusion. In summary, β3-agonism robustly increased FFA flux to BAT coupled with enhanced utilization. Increased BAT activation most likely drove the increased tail heat dissipation to maintain thermostasis. Our results emphasize the quantitative role of brown fat as the functional target of β3-agonism in obesity.

Keywords: CL316,243; brown adipose tissue; diabetes; free fatty acids; obesity; β3-adrenergic receptor.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / drug effects*
  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / metabolism
  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / pathology
  • Adipose Tissue, White / drug effects*
  • Adipose Tissue, White / metabolism
  • Adipose Tissue, White / pathology
  • Adrenergic beta-3 Receptor Agonists / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Diet, High-Fat*
  • Dioxoles / pharmacology*
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / metabolism*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Palmitates / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta-3
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Thermography
  • Tritium
  • Uncoupling Protein 1 / drug effects
  • Uncoupling Protein 1 / metabolism


  • Adrenergic beta-3 Receptor Agonists
  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Dioxoles
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Palmitates
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta-3
  • Ucp1 protein, rat
  • Uncoupling Protein 1
  • Tritium
  • disodium (R,R)-5-(2-((2-(3-chlorophenyl)-2-hydroxyethyl)-amino)propyl)-1,3-benzodioxole-2,3-dicarboxylate