Diminished epinephrine excretion in genetically obese (ob/ob) mice and monosodium glutamate-treated rats

F. S M Leigh, L. N. Kaufman, J. B. Young*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


While numerous studies have examined sympathetic nervous system activity in experimental obesity, adrenal medullary function in this condition has received less attention. The experiments described herein evaluated adrenal medullary secretion by measurement of urinary epinephrine (Epi) excretion in genetically obese (ob/ob) mice and monosodium glutamate (MSG)-treated rats. In both male and female ob/ob mice Epi excretion was reduced 42% (P < 0.015) and 47% (P < 0.025), respectively, despite higher rates of urine output and excretion for other amines in obese compared to lean animals. In a similar fashion, urinary Epi was also lower in MSG-treated adult rats than in untreated controls; this reduction was out of proportion to group differences in body weight or excretion of other catecholamines. Administration of D,L-fenfluramine to mice, or dietary protein supplementation in rats, increased Epi excretion to the same extent in obese and lean animals. These findings indicate that secretion of Epi by the adrenal medulla is diminished, but is normally responsive to stimulation in these two models of animals obesity, and are thus consistent with accumulating evidence of a functional impairment in adrenal medullary secretion in animal and human obesity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)597-604
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1992


  • Adrenal medulla
  • Dietary protein
  • Epinephrine
  • Fenfluramine
  • Monosodium glutamate
  • ob/ob mouse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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