Brown adipose tissue (BAT) is a site of non-shivering thermogenesis in mammals. Thermogenesis in brown adipocytes is related to the presence of a specific mitochondrial component called "uncoupling protein". When animals are chronically exposed to cold, their BAT is enlarged and exhibits several changes such as cellular differentiation, hyperplasia, mitochondriogenesis and marked synthesis of uncoupling protein. The hormonal and neural factors controlling this adaptive response have been studied. It is concluded that sympathetic innervation of BAT and released noradrenaline play an essential role in the development of BAT.