The lipidome of primary murine white, brite, and brown adipocytes-Impact of beta-adrenergic stimulation

PLoS Biol. 2019 Aug 1;17(8):e3000412. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3000412. eCollection 2019 Aug.


Lipid species patterns are conserved within cells to maintain physicochemical properties of membranes and cellular functions. We present the lipidome, including sterols, glycerolipids (GLs), glycerophospholipids (GPLs), and sphingolipids (SLs), of primary ex vivo differentiated (I) white, (II) brite, and (III) brown adipocytes derived from primary preadipocytes isolated from (I) epididymal white, (II) inguinal white, and (III) intrascapular brown adipose tissue. Quantitative lipidomics revealed significantly decreased fractions of phosphatidylcholine (PC) and phosphatidylethanolamine (PE), with longer (C > 36) and more polyunsaturated species, as well as lower levels of cardiolipin (CL) in white than in brite and brown adipocytes. Together, the brite and brown lipidome was comparable and indicates differences in membrane lipid packing density compared with white adipocytes. Changes in ceramide species profile could be related to the degree of browning. Beta-adrenergic stimulation of brown adipocytes led to generation of saturated lyso-PC (LPC) increasing uncoupling protein (UCP) 1-mediated leak respiration. Application of stable isotope labeling showed that LPC formation was balanced by an increased de novo synthesis of PC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes, Brown / metabolism
  • Adipocytes, White / metabolism
  • Adipose Tissue, Beige / metabolism*
  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / metabolism*
  • Adipose Tissue, White / metabolism*
  • Adrenergic Agents
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Lipid Metabolism / physiology
  • Lipidomics / methods
  • Lipids / physiology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, 129 Strain
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Uncoupling Protein 1 / genetics
  • Uncoupling Protein 1 / metabolism


  • Adrenergic Agents
  • Lipids
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta
  • Uncoupling Protein 1

Grant support

This work was funded by a Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) grant for a temporary position as principal investigator (Josef Ecker, EC 453/1-1, LI 923/4-1), J. E.; DFG priority program “SPP 1656- Intestinal microbiota (EC 453/2-1)", J.E. and G.L.; DFG - Projektnummer 395357507 - SFB 1371, J.E. and M.K; Deutsches Zentrum für Diabetesforschung (DZD) (01GI0923); M.K.. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.