Uptake of glucose and release of fatty acids and glycerol by rat brown adipose tissue in vivo

Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 1986 May;64(5):609-14. doi: 10.1139/y86-101.


The net in vivo uptake or release of free fatty acids glycerol, glucose, lactate, and pyruvate by the interscapular brown adipose tissue (IBAT) of barbital-anesthetized, cold-acclimated rats was determined from measurements of plasma arteriovenous concentration differences across IBAT and tissue blood flow. Measurements were made without stimulation of the tissue and also during submaximal and maximal stimulation by infused noradrenaline (NA), the physiological activator of BAT thermogenesis. There was no appreciable uptake of glucose or release of fatty acids and glycerol by the nonstimulated tissue. At both levels of stimulation there was significant uptake of glucose (1.7 and 2.0 mumol/min) and release of glycerol (0.9 and 1.2 mumol/min), but only at maximal stimulation was there significant release of fatty acids (1.9 mumol/min). Release of lactate and pyruvate accounted for 33% of the glucose taken up at submaximal stimulation and 88% at maximal stimulation. By calculation, the remainder of the glucose taken up was sufficient to have fueled about 12% of the thermogenesis at submaximal stimulation, but only about 2% at maximal stimulation. As estimated from the rate of glycerol release, the rate of triglyceride hydrolysis was sufficient at submaximal stimulation to fuel IBAT thermogenesis entirely with the resulting fatty acids, but it was not sufficient to do so at maximal stimulation when some of the fatty acid was exported. It is suggested that at maximal NA-induced thermogenesis a portion of lipolysis proceeded only to the level of mono- and di-glycerides with the result that glycerol release did not fully reflect the rate of fatty acid formation.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / blood supply
  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Body Temperature / drug effects
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism*
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Glycerol / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Norepinephrine / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Regional Blood Flow
  • Stimulation, Chemical


  • Fatty Acids
  • Glucose
  • Glycerol
  • Norepinephrine