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UCP1 mRNA does not produce heat
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Molecular Biosciences, The Wenner-Gren Institute.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Molecular Biosciences, The Wenner-Gren Institute.
2013 (English)In: Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids, ISSN 1388-1981, E-ISSN 1388-1918, Vol. 1831, no 5, 943-949 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Because of the possible role of brown adipose tissue and UCP1 in metabolic regulation, even in adult humans, there is presently considerable interest in quantifying, from in-vitro data, the thermogenic capacities of brown and brite/beige adipose tissues. An important issue is therefore to establish which parameters are the most adequate for this. A particularly important issue is the relevance of UCP1 mRNA levels as estimates of the degree of recruitment and of the thermogenic capacity resulting from differences in physiological conditions and from experimental manipulations. By solely following UCP1 mRNA levels in brown adipose tissue, the conclusion would be made that the tissue's highest activation occurs after only 6 h in the cold and then successively decreases to being only some 50% elevated after 1 month in the cold. However, measurement of total UCP1 protein levels per depot (mouse) reveals that the maximal thermogenic capacity estimated in this way is reached first after 1 month but represents an approx. 10-fold increase in thermogenic capacity. Since this in-vitro measure correlates quantitatively and temporally with the acquisition of nonshivering thermogenesis, this must be considered the most physiologically relevant parameter. Similarly, observations that cold acclimation barely increases UCP1 mRNA levels in classical brown adipose tissue but leads to a 200-fold increase in UCP1 mRNA levels in brite/beige adipose tissue depots may overemphasise the physiological significance of these depots, as the high fold-increases are due to very low initial levels, and the UCP1 mRNA levels reached are at least an order of magnitude lower than in brown adipose tissue; furthermore, based on total UCP1 protein amounts, the brite/beige depots attain only about 10% of the thermogenic capacity of the classical brown adipose tissue depots. Consequently, inadequate conclusions may be reached if UCP1 mRNA levels are used as a proxy for the metabolic significance of recruited versus non-recruited brown adipose tissue and for estimating the metabolic significance of brown versus brite/beige adipose tissues. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Brown and White Fat: From Signaling to Disease.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 1831, no 5, 943-949 p.
Keyword [en]
Brown adipose tissue, Brite adipose tissue, Beige adipose tissue, White adipose tissue, UCP1, Nonshivering thermogenesis, Diet-induced thermogenesis
National Category
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Cell Biology
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-90346DOI: 10.1016/j.bbalip.2013.01.009ISI: 000317996000007OAI: diva2:632087


Available from: 2013-06-24 Created: 2013-06-03 Last updated: 2013-06-24Bibliographically approved

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Nedergaard, JanCannon, Barbara
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Department of Molecular Biosciences, The Wenner-Gren Institute
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