Adaptive facultative diet-induced thermogenesis in wild-type but not in UCP1-ablated mice

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2017 Nov 1;313(5):E515-E527. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00097.2017. Epub 2017 Jul 5.


The significance of diet-induced thermogenesis (DIT) for metabolic control is still debated. Although obesogenic diets recruit UCP1 and adrenergically inducible thermogenesis, and although the absence of UCP1 may promote the development of obesity, no actual UCP1-related thermogenesis identifiable as diet-induced thermogenesis has to date been unambiguously demonstrated. Examining mice living at thermoneutrality, we have identified a process of facultative (directly elicited by acute eating), adaptive (magnitude develops over weeks on an obesogenic diet), and fully UCP1-dependent thermogenesis. We found no evidence for UCP1-independent diet-induced thermogenesis. The thermogenesis was proportional to the total amount of UCP1 protein in brown adipose tissue and was not dependent on any contribution of UCP1 in brite/beige adipose tissue, since no UCP1 protein was found there under these conditions. Total UCP1 protein amount developed proportionally to total body fat content. The physiological messenger linking obesity level and acute eating to increased thermogenesis is not known. Thus UCP1-dependent diet-induced thermogenesis limits obesity development during exposure to obesogenic diets but does not prevent obesity as such.

Keywords: UCP1; brown adipose tissue; diet-induced obesity; diet-induced thermogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / genetics*
  • Adaptation, Physiological / physiology*
  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / metabolism
  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / physiology
  • Animals
  • Body Composition
  • Calorimetry, Indirect
  • Diet*
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Obesity / genetics
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Oxygen Consumption / genetics
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Thermogenesis / genetics*
  • Thermogenesis / physiology*
  • Uncoupling Protein 1 / genetics*
  • Uncoupling Protein 1 / physiology*


  • Ucp1 protein, mouse
  • Uncoupling Protein 1