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Endocrinology. 1998 Jun;139(6):2676-84.

Desensitization of the beta-adrenergic response in human brown adipocytes.

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CNRS-UPR 0415 and Université Paris VII, Institut Cochin de Génétique Moléculaire, France.


Activation of adenylyl cyclase by beta-adrenergic receptors (betaARs) plays a major role in adipose tissue homeostasis. The increase in cAMP promotes lipolysis in white adipose tissue, activates both thermogenesis and lipolysis in brown adipose tissue (BAT), and induces BAT hypertrophy. Previous studies indicated that among the three betaAR subtypes present in adipose tissue, beta3AR could be a potential target for antiobesity treatments in humans. We studied immortalized human brown adipocytes (PAZ6 adipocytes) as a model of beta-adrenergic response in human BAT. PAZ6 adipocytes and freshly isolated mature human brown adipocytes display the same proportions of betaAR subtypes, with beta3AR being the most abundant (approximately 80% of the total). However, beta3AR was poorly coupled to the adenylyl cyclase pathway in PAZ6 cells, contributing to only 10% of the isoproterenol-induced accumulation of cAMP, whereas 20% and 70% of the signal depended on beta1- and beta2-subtypes, respectively. Upon isoproterenol stimulation, beta1- and beta2AR down-regulated with a half-life of about 3 h and the beta3AR with a half-life of 30-40 h. Long term stimulation with both saturating (micromolar) and nonsaturating (nanomolar) concentrations of beta-adrenergic agonists caused a complete desensitization of the beta-adrenergic response at the adenylyl cyclase level and loss of stimulated protein kinase A activity and CREB phosphorylation. These results suggest that cAMP-dependent processes will be desensitized upon permanent treatment with beta3AR agonists. Further studies should establish whether the beta3AR is coupled to other signaling pathways in human brown adipocytes and whether these may contribute to BAT hypertrophy and/or thermogenesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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