Lipolysis in Brown Adipocytes Is Not Essential for Cold-Induced Thermogenesis in Mice

Cell Metab. 2017 Nov 7;26(5):764-777.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2017.09.002. Epub 2017 Oct 5.


Lipid droplet (LD) lipolysis in brown adipose tissue (BAT) is generally considered to be required for cold-induced nonshivering thermogenesis. Here, we show that mice lacking BAT Comparative Gene Identification-58 (CGI-58), a lipolytic activator essential for the stimulated LD lipolysis, have normal thermogenic capacity and are not cold sensitive. Relative to littermate controls, these animals had higher body temperatures when they were provided food during cold exposure. The increase in body temperature in the fed, cold-exposed knockout mice was associated with increased energy expenditure and with increased sympathetic innervation and browning of white adipose tissue (WAT). Mice lacking CGI-58 in both BAT and WAT were cold sensitive, but only in the fasted state. Thus, LD lipolysis in BAT is not essential for cold-induced nonshivering thermogenesis in vivo. Rather, CGI-58-dependent LD lipolysis in BAT regulates WAT thermogenesis, and our data uncover an essential role of WAT lipolysis in fueling thermogenesis during fasting.

Keywords: CGI-58; beige adipocyte; body temperature; energy expenditure; intracellular lipolysis; metabolic health; sympathetic activation; thermogenesis; white adipose tissue browning.

MeSH terms

  • 1-Acylglycerol-3-Phosphate O-Acyltransferase / genetics
  • 1-Acylglycerol-3-Phosphate O-Acyltransferase / metabolism*
  • Adipocytes, Brown / metabolism*
  • Adipocytes, White / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Body Temperature
  • Cold Temperature
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Fasting
  • Humans
  • Hypothermia, Induced
  • Lipolysis / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Thermogenesis / physiology*


  • 1-Acylglycerol-3-Phosphate O-Acyltransferase
  • Abhd5 protein, mouse