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Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2002 Nov;26(11):1442-50.

Immunohistochemical identification of the beta(3)-adrenoceptor in intact human adipocytes and ventricular myocardium: effect of obesity and treatment with ephedrine and caffeine.

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Institute of Normal Human Morphology-Anatomy, University of Ancona, Ancona, Italy.



To investigate whether the beta(3)-adrenoceptor could be identified by immunohistochemistry in intact human white and brown adipocytes and other human tissues, and to investigate the influence of obesity and its treatment with ephedrine and caffeine on the expression of the beta(3)-adrenoceptor in adipocytes.


Morbidly obese patients were given a hypoenergetic diet (70% of energy expenditure) and some were also treated with ephedrine and caffeine (20/200 mg, three times daily) for 4 weeks. Adipose tissue and other tissues were taken during surgery. Immunohistochemistry was carried out using a monoclonal antibody raised against the human beta(3)-adrenoceptor.


Staining was localized to the periphery of cells. All white adipocytes were stained. Those from lean subjects and obese subjects treated with ephedrine and caffeine showed more intense staining than those from untreated obese subjects. Staining was more intense in brown than in white adipocytes in perirenal adipose tissue from phaeochromocytoma patients. Staining was also seen in ventricular myocardium, and in smooth muscle of the prostate, ileum, colon and gall bladder.


The tissue and subcellular distribution of staining was consistent with it being due to binding of the antibody to the human beta(3)-adrenoceptor. The presence of the beta(3)-adrenoceptor in human white adipocytes is consistent with evidence that it can mediate lipolysis in human white adipocytes. The increased expression of the beta(3)-adrenoceptor in obese subjects treated with caffeine and ephedrine supports the potential of beta(3)-adrenoceptor agonists in the treatment of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Its expression in ventricular myocardium is consistent with evidence that the beta(3)-adrenoceptor mediates a negative inotropic effect in this tissue.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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