Brown adipose tissue thermogenesis precedes food intake in genetically obese Zucker (fa/fa) rats

Anna Kontos, Rodrigo Menezes, Youichirou Ootsuka, William Blessing

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    6 Citations (Scopus)


    In Sprague-Dawley rats, brown adipose tissue (BAT) thermogenesis occurs in an episodic ultradian manner (BAT on-periods) as part of the basic rest-activity cycle (BRAC). Eating occurs approximately 15. min after the onset of BAT on-periods. Zucker obese (fa/fa) rats eat larger less frequent meals than control rats. In chronically instrumented conscious unrestrained Zucker obese rats we examined ultradian fluctuations in BAT, body and brain temperatures, and the relation between BAT temperature and eating. The interval between BAT temperature peaks for the 12. hour dark phase was 121 ± 3 (mean ± SE) min for Zucker obese rats and 91 ± 3. min for control lean rats (p < 0.01). Corresponding values for the light phase were 148 ± 6 and 118 ± 4. min (p < 0.01). Mean BAT and body temperatures were lower in Zucker obese rats, in comparison with lean controls, during both BAT on-periods and BAT off-periods. Mean brain temperatures were lower during BAT off-periods. Amplitudes of the BRAC-related increases in all 3 temperatures were greater in the Zucker obese rats. Meal onset in Zucker obese rats commenced 15 ± 1. min after the onset of a BAT on-period, not significantly different for the delay observed in lean control rats (18 ± 1. min, p. >. 0.05). Thus periods between eating are increased in the Zucker obese rats, but the action of leptin, absent in these animals, is not crucial for the timing of eating in relation to increases in BAT and body temperature. Lack of the normal excitatory action of leptin on brain-regulated BAT sympathetic discharge could also contribute to lower BAT thermogenesis in Zucker obese rats.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)129-137
    Number of pages9
    JournalPhysiology and Behavior
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


    • Body temperature
    • Brain temperature
    • Leptin receptors
    • Metabolic rate
    • Ultradian rhythms


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