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Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2001 Oct;25(10):1421-30.

Protective effects of noradrenaline against tumor necrosis factor-alpha-induced apoptosis in cultured rat brown adipocytes: role of nitric oxide-induced heat shock protein 70 expression.

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  • 1Center for Study and Research on Obesity, Department of Preclinical Sciences, LITA Vialba, L Sacco Hospital, Milan University, Milan, Italy.

Erratum in

  • Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2012 Dec;36(12):1593. Breacale, R [corrected to Bracale, R].



To elucidate the effects and molecular mechanism(s) by means of which noradrenaline (NA) protects against the tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha-induced apoptosis of brown adipocytes.


Brown fat precursor cells were isolated from young rats; 2.5 million cells were added to each 24-well culture plate and cultured in a defined culture medium. On day 8, the cultured cells were exposed to murine recombinant TNF-alpha and/or cycloheximide (CHX; 10 microg/ml) and/or NA and/or nitric oxide (NO) donors and/or the NO synthase inhibitor N(G)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME) and/or 10 microM heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) antisense or sense oligomers.


Analysis of DNA fragmentation on agarose gel as a marker of apoptosis; reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction analysis of mRNA levels; Western blotting analysis of protein levels.


Pretreatment of primary cultures of rat brown fat cells with micromolar concentrations of NA or the NO-donor S-nitroso-N-acetylpenicillamine (SNAP) induced the expression of HSP70 mRNA and protein, which was associated with cytoprotection against TNF-alpha plus CHX-induced apoptosis. The L-NAME inhibitor of NO synthase activity inhibited both NA-stimulated HSP70 expression and cytoprotection. Furthermore, pretreatment of brown adipocytes with an antisense oligonucleotide to HSP70 antagonized both SNAP- and NA-induced cytoprotection.


These findings demonstrate that the NO produced by NA stimulation can induce resistance to the TNF-alpha-induced apoptosis of brown adipocytes, possibly by means of the expression of HSP70.

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