Mar 31, 2020

Lipid Droplets in Brown Adipose Tissue Are Dispensable for Cold-Induced Thermogenesis

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
C. ChitrajuTobias C Walther


Brown adipocytes store metabolic energy as triglycerides (TG) in multilocular lipid droplets (LDs). Fatty acids released from brown adipocyte LDs by lipolysis are thought to activate and fuel UCP1-mediated thermogenesis. Here we test this hypothesis by preventing fatty acid storage in murine brown adipocytes through brown adipose tissue (BAT)-specific deletions of the TG synthesis enzymes, DGAT1 and DGAT2 (BA-DGAT KO). Despite the absence of LDs, BA-DGAT KO mice had functional BAT and maintained euthermia during acute or chronic cold exposure. As apparent adaptations to the lack of TG, brown adipocytes of BA-DGAT KO mice appear to utilize circulating glucose and fatty acids, as well as stored glycogen to fuel thermogenesis. Moreover, BA-DGAT KO mice were resistant to diet-induced glucose intolerance, likely due to increased glucose disposal by BAT. Thus, surprisingly, TGs in BAT are dispensable for its function, in part through adaptations to utilize other fuel sources.

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