Adrenoceptors in white, brown, and brite adipocytes

Br J Pharmacol. 2019 Jul;176(14):2416-2432. doi: 10.1111/bph.14631. Epub 2019 Apr 7.


Adrenoceptors play an important role in adipose tissue biology and physiology that includes regulating the synthesis and storage of triglycerides (lipogenesis), the breakdown of stored triglycerides (lipolysis), thermogenesis (heat production), glucose metabolism, and the secretion of adipocyte-derived hormones that can control whole-body energy homeostasis. These processes are regulated by the sympathetic nervous system through actions at different adrenoceptor subtypes expressed in adipose tissue depots. In this review, we have highlighted the role of adrenoceptor subtypes in white, brown, and brite adipocytes in both rodents and humans and have included detailed analysis of adrenoceptor expression in human adipose tissue and clonally derived adipocytes. We discuss important considerations when investigating adrenoceptor function in adipose tissue or adipocytes. LINKED ARTICLES: This article is part of a themed section on Adrenoceptors-New Roles for Old Players. To view the other articles in this section visit

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes, Beige / metabolism*
  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / metabolism*
  • Adipose Tissue, White / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Receptors, Adrenergic / metabolism*


  • Receptors, Adrenergic