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Adipocyte. 2012 Oct 1;1(4):265-270.

The effects of early under-nutrition on the development of wBAT and obesity.

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Institute of Animal Reproduction and Food Research; Polish Academy of Sciences; Olsztyn, Poland.


A population of brown adipocytes emerges in white fat depots at weaning. The function of these adipocytes is not known, but at this late stage of development it is unlikely they are essential for body temperature regulation experienced during the cold stress at birth. A dietary protocol of under-nutrition during the perinatal period, causing hypoinsulinemia, hypoleptinemia and hypoglycemia, led to an 85% reduction in expression of brown fat biomarkers and genes encoding the components of the respiratory complex, the TCA cycle and fatty acid oxidation. Suppression of wBAT in 21-day-old mice showed no significant effect on diet-induced obesity or cold tolerance in adult mice. Analysis of gene expression indicated that capacity to induce the brown fat phenotype was normal. This suggests that the brown adipocytes in white fat of 21-day-old mice are highly plastic and able to recover from severe malnutrition or that a new population of brown adipocytes is induced de novo in adult mice.


brown adipocyte differentiation in white fat; diet-induced obesity; microarray analysis of gene expression; mitochondrial uncoupling protein1; perinatal under-nutrition

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