Neuronal control of adaptive thermogenesis

Xiaoyong Yang; Hai-Bin Ruan; Lei Sun; Yun-Hee Lee
September 2015
Frontiers in Endocrinology;Sep2015, p1
Academic Journal
The obesity epidemic continues rising as a global health challenge, despite the increasing public awareness and the use of lifestyle and medical interventions. The biomedical community is urged to develop new treatments to obesity. Excess energy is stored as fat in white adipose tissue (WAT), dysfunction of which lies at the core of obesity and associated metabolic disorders. By contrast, brown adipose tissue (BAT) burns fat and dissipates chemical energy as heat. The development and activation of "brown-like" adipocytes, also known as beige cells, result in WAT browning and thermogenesis. The recent discovery of brown and beige adipocytes in adult humans has sparked the exploration of the development, regulation, and function of these thermogenic adipocytes. The central nervous system drives the sympathetic nerve activity in BAT and WAT to control heat production and energy homeostasis. This review provides an overview of the integration of thermal, hormonal, and nutritional information on hypothalamic circuits in thermoregulation.


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