CNS β3-adrenergic receptor activation regulates feeding behavior, white fat browning, and body weight

Jennifer E. Richard, Lorena López-Ferreras, Belén Chanclón, Kim Eerola, Peter Micallef, Karolina P. Skibicka, Ingrid Wernstedt Asterholm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Pharmacological β3-adrenergic receptor (β3AR) activation leads to increased mitochondrial biogenesis and activity in white adipose tissue (WAT), a process commonly referred to as “browning”, and transiently increased insulin release. These effects are associated with improved metabolic function and weight loss. It is assumed that this impact of β3AR agonists is mediated solely through activation of β3ARs in adipose tissue. However, β3ARs are also found in the brain, in areas such as the brain stem and the hypothalamus, which provide multisynaptic innervation to brown and white adipose depots. Thus, contrary to the current adipocentric view, the central nervous system (CNS) may also have the ability to regulate energy balance and metabolism through actions on central β3ARs. Therefore, this study aimed to elucidate whether CNS β3ARs can regulate browning of WAT and other aspects of metabolic regulation, such as food intake control and insulin release. We found that acute central injection of β3AR agonist potently reduced food intake, body weight, and increased hypothalamic neuronal activity in rats. Acute central β3AR stimulation was also accompanied by a transient increase in circulating insulin levels. Moreover, subchronic central β3AR agonist treatment led to a browning response in both inguinal (IWAT) and gonadal WAT (GWAT), along with reduced GWAT and increased BAT mass. In high-fat, high-sugar-fed rats, subchronic central β3AR stimulation reduced body weight, chow, lard, and sucrose water intake, in addition to increasing browning of IWAT and GWAT. Collectively, our results identify the brain as a new site of action for the anorexic and browning impact of β3AR activation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E344-E358
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'CNS β3-adrenergic receptor activation regulates feeding behavior, white fat browning, and body weight'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this