Characterization of brown adipose tissue thermogenesis in the naked mole-rat (Heterocephalus glaber), a poikilothermic mammal

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Y. OiwaKyoko Miura


The naked mole-rat (NMR) is a poikilothermic mammal that forms eusocial colonies consisting of one breeding queen, several breeding kings, and subordinates. Despite their poikilothermic feature, NMRs possess brown adipose tissue (BAT), which in homeothermic mammals induces thermogenesis in cold environments. However, NMR-BAT thermogenic potential is controversial, and its physiological roles are unknown. Here, we show that NMR-BAT has beta-3 adrenergic receptor (ADRB3)-dependent thermogenic potential, which contributes to thermogenesis in the isolated queen in non-cold environments. NMR-BAT expressed several brown adipocyte marker genes and showed noradrenaline-dependent thermogenic activity in vitro and in vivo. Although our ADRB3 inhibition experiments revealed that NMR-BAT thermogenesis slightly delays the decrease in body temperature in a cold environment, it was insufficient to maintain the body temperatures of the NMRs. In a non-cold environment, NMRs are known to increase their body temperature by a heat-sharing behavior. Interestingly, we found that the body temperatures of NMRs isolated from the colony were also significantly higher than the ambient temperature. We also show that queens, but not subordinates, induce BA...Continue Reading

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