Effects of rearing temperature on sympathoadrenal activity in young adult rats

James B. Young*, Jeffrey Weiss, Nadine Boufath

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Animals reared at 18°C exhibit enhanced innervation of brown adipose tissue (BAT) and greater cold tolerance as adults, yet gain more weight when fed an enriched diet compared with rats reared at 30°C. To explore this paradox, sympathoadrenal activity was examined using techniques of [3H]norepinephrine ([3H]NE) turnover and urinary catecholamine excretion in male and female rats reared until 2 mo of age at 18 or 30°C. Gene expression in BAT was also analyzed for several sympathetically related proteins. Although [3H]NE turnover in heart did not differ between groups, [3H]NE turnover in BAT was consistently elevated in the 18°C-reared animals, even 2 mo after removal from the cool environment. Gene expression for uncoupling proteins 1 and 3, GLUT-4, leptin, and the α1A-adrenergic receptor was more abundant in BAT and the increase in epinephrine excretion with fasting suppressed in 18°C-reared animals. These studies demonstrate that obesity consequent to exposure to 18°C in early life occurs despite tonic elevation of sympathetic input to BAT. Diminished adrenal epinephrine responsiveness to fasting may play a contributory role.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R1198-R1209
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number5 52-5
StatePublished - Nov 1 2002


  • Adrenal medulla
  • Brown fat
  • Epinephrine
  • Norepinephrine
  • Sympathetic nervous system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology (medical)
  • Physiology


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