Activation of beta3 adrenergic receptors on the surface of adipocytes leads to increases in intracellular cAMP and stimulation of lipolysis. In brown adipose tissue, this serves to up-regulate and activate the mitochondrial uncoupling protein 1, which mediates a proton conductance pathway that uncouples oxidative phosphorylation, leading to a net increase in energy expenditure. While chronic treatment with beta3 agonists in nonprimate species leads to uncoupling protein 1 up-regulation and weight loss, the relevance of this mechanism to energy metabolism in primates, which have much lower levels of brown adipose tissue, has been questioned. With the discovery of L-755,507, a potent and selective partial agonist for both human and rhesus beta3 receptors, we now demonstrate that acute exposure of rhesus monkeys to a beta3 agonist elicits lipolysis and metabolic rate elevation, and that chronic exposure increases uncoupling protein 1 expression in rhesus brown adipose tissue. These data suggest a role for beta3 agonists in the treatment of human obesity.