Five groups of 10 rats were used. Group A included sedentary rats kept at 24 degrees C, group B exercised-trained rats and group C rats exposed at -15 degrees C for 2 h every day and kept at 24 degrees C for the remaining time. These 3 groups were kept on this regimen for 10 weeks. In addition group D was acclimated to cold (2 h.d-1 at -15 degrees C) for 6 weeks and subsequently deacclimated at 24 degrees C for 4 weeks. Group E was also acclimated to cold for 6 weeks and during the deacclimation, at 24 degrees C period which lasted 4 weeks, the animals were exercised 2 h per day. Following the 10 week experimental period all animals were sacrificed and DNA and protein content of the IBAT as well as its total mass were measured. The results show significant increases in the cold adapted group. Exercise training which had no effect on brown adipose tissue IBAT at room temperature, caused an accelerated reduction in weight, DNA and protein content of the BAT in rats previously acclimated to cold. In spite of this, the thermogenic response to noradrenaline was significantly enhanced in the group which exercised during the deacclimation period. It is suggested that tissues other than IBAT may explain this enhanced heat production capacity.