Selenoprotein P-mediated reductive stress impairs cold-induced thermogenesis in brown fat

Cell Rep. 2022 Mar 29;38(13):110566. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2022.110566.


Reactive oxygen species (ROS) activate uncoupler protein 1 (UCP1) in brown adipose tissue (BAT) under physiological cold exposure and noradrenaline (NA) stimulation to increase thermogenesis. However, the endogenous regulator of ROS in activated BAT and its role in pathological conditions remain unclear. We show that serum levels of selenoprotein P (SeP; encoded by SELENOP) negatively correlate with BAT activity in humans. Physiological cold exposure downregulates Selenop in BAT. Selenop knockout mice show higher rectal temperatures and UCP1 sulfenylation during cold exposure. SeP treatment to brown adipocytes eliminated the NA-induced mitochondrial ROS by upregulating glutathione peroxidase 4 and impaired cellular thermogenesis. A high-fat/high-sucrose diet elevates serum SeP levels and diminishes the elevated NA-induced thermogenesis in BAT-Selenop KO mice. Therefore, SeP is the intrinsic factor inducing reductive stress that impairs thermogenesis in BAT and may be a potential therapeutic target for obesity and diabetes.

Keywords: BATkine; CP: Metabolism; brown adipose tissue; diabetes mellitus; hepatokine; obesity; redox; reductive stress; selenoprotein P; thermogenesis; uncoupling protein 1.

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes, Brown
  • Adipose Tissue, Brown* / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Diet, High-Fat
  • Mice
  • Selenoprotein P* / metabolism
  • Thermogenesis / physiology


  • Selenop protein, mouse
  • Selenoprotein P