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Int J Obes (Lond). 2010 Oct;34 Suppl 1:S7-16. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2010.177.

Metabolic consequences of the presence or absence of the thermogenic capacity of brown adipose tissue in mice (and probably in humans).

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1
Department of Physiology, The Wenner-Gren Institute, The Arrhenius Laboratories F3, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden. barbara.cannon@wgi.su.se

Abstract

Only with the development of the uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1)-ablated mouse has it become possible to strictly delineate the physiological significance of the thermogenic capacity of brown adipose tissue. Considering the presence of active brown adipose tissue in adult humans, these insights may have direct human implications. In addition to classical nonshivering thermogenesis, all adaptive adrenergic thermogeneses, including diet-induced thermogenesis, is fully dependent on brown adipocyte activity. Any weight-reducing effect of β(3)-adrenergic agonists is fully dependent on UCP1 activity, as is any weight-reducing effect of leptin (in excess of its effect on reduction of food intake). Consequently, in the absence of the thermogenic activity of brown adipose tissue, obesity develops spontaneously. The ability of brown adipose tissue to contribute to glucose disposal is also mainly related to thermogenic activity. However, basal metabolic rate, cold-induced thermogenesis, acute cold tolerance, fevers, nonadaptive adrenergic thermogenesis and processes such as angiogenesis in brown adipose tissue itself are not dependent on UCP1 activity. Whereas it is likely that these conclusions are also qualitatively valid for adult humans, the quantitative significance of brown adipose tissue for human metabolism--and the metabolic consequences for a single individual possessing more or less brown adipose tissue--awaits clarification.

PMID:
20935668
DOI:
10.1038/ijo.2010.177
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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