Polyunsaturated fatty acids recruit brown adipose tissue: increased UCP content and NST capacity

Am J Physiol. 1995 Aug;269(2 Pt 1):E351-60. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.1995.269.2.E351.


To examine the effect of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) on brown adipose tissue recruitment and on the capacity for nonshivering thermogenesis (NST), mice were fed a diet with a standard fat content (9%) and a normal PUFA content (1.6%) (controls) or a high-PUFA content (4.3%) for 2-3 wk. The resting metabolic rate was somewhat lower in the high-PUFA group, probably due to a lower physical activity whereas the capacity for NST (estimated as the metabolic response to a norepinephrine injection) was higher in the high-PUFA group. There was no significant effect on brown adipose tissue wet weight, protein content, or cytochrome-c oxidase content, but the amount of the uncoupling protein thermogenin (UCP), measured immunologically, was significantly increased in the high-PUFA mice (totally by 41%). It was concluded that short-term feeding of a high-PUFA diet may recruit brown adipose tissue thermogenic capacity; it was speculated that earlier-reported recruiting effects of high-fat diets may not be due solely to the high total fat content of the diet but perhaps also to a specific recruiting property of the high-PUFA diets generally used in this type of investigation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / drug effects*
  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / metabolism
  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Body Temperature Regulation*
  • Body Weight
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Eating
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / pharmacology*
  • Ion Channels
  • Male
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Norepinephrine / pharmacology
  • Rest
  • Uncoupling Protein 1


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • Ion Channels
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Uncoupling Protein 1
  • Norepinephrine