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J Biol Chem. 1997 Dec 26;272(52):32847-56.

alpha1-Adrenergic stimulation potentiates the thermogenic action of beta3-adrenoreceptor-generated cAMP in brown fat cells.

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Wenner-Gren Institute, the Arrhenius Laboratories F3, Stockholm University, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden.


The relationship between cAMP levels and thermogenesis was investigated in brown fat cells from Syrian hamsters. Irrespective of whether the selective beta3-, beta2-, and beta1-agonists BRL 37344, salbutamol, and dobutamine or the physiological agonist norepinephrine was used to stimulate the cells, increases in cAMP levels were mediated via the beta3-receptor, as were the thermogenic effects. However, the relationship "thermogenesis per cAMP" was much lower for agents other than norepinephrine. Similarly, forskolin, although more potent than norepinephrine in elevating cAMP, was less potent in inducing thermogenesis. The selective alpha1-agonist cirazoline was in itself without effect on cAMP levels or thermogenesis, but when added to forskolin-stimulated cells, potentiated thermogenesis, up to the norepinephrine level, without affecting cAMP. This potentiation could not be inhibited by chelerythrine, but could be mimicked by Ca2+ ionophores. It was apparently not mediated via calmodulin-dependent protein kinase and was not an effect on mitochondrial respiratory control. The ability of all cAMP-elevating agents to induce thermogenesis in brown fat cells has earlier been interpreted to mean that it is only through the beta-receptors and the resulting increase in cAMP levels that thermogenesis is induced. However, it is here concluded that the thermogenic response to norepinephrine involves two interacting parts, one mediated via beta-receptors and cAMP and the other via alpha1-receptors and increases in cytosolic Ca2+ levels.

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