Triiodothyronine (T3) promotes brown fat hyperplasia via thyroid hormone receptor α mediated adipocyte progenitor cell proliferation

Nat Commun. 2022 Jun 13;13(1):3394. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-31154-1.


The thyroid hormone (TH)-controlled recruitment process of brown adipose tissue (BAT) is not fully understood. Here, we show that long-term treatment of T3, the active form of TH, increases the recruitment of thermogenic capacity in interscapular BAT of male mice through hyperplasia by promoting the TH receptor α-mediated adipocyte progenitor cell proliferation. Our single-cell analysis reveals the heterogeneous nature and hierarchical trajectory within adipocyte progenitor cells of interscapular BAT. Further analyses suggest that T3 facilitates cell state transition from a more stem-like state towards a more committed adipogenic state and promotes cell cycle progression towards a mitotic state in adipocyte progenitor cells, through mechanisms involving the action of Myc on glycolysis. Our findings elucidate the mechanisms underlying the TH action in adipocyte progenitors residing in BAT and provide a framework for better understanding of the TH effects on hyperplastic growth and adaptive thermogenesis in BAT depot at a single-cell level.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / metabolism
  • Adipocytes, Brown / metabolism
  • Adipose Tissue, Brown* / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Hyperplasia / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Receptors, Thyroid Hormone / metabolism
  • Thermogenesis
  • Thyroid Hormones / metabolism
  • Triiodothyronine* / metabolism
  • Triiodothyronine* / pharmacology


  • Receptors, Thyroid Hormone
  • Thyroid Hormones
  • Triiodothyronine