Two types of fat, white adipose tissue (WAT) and brown adipose tissue (BAT), exist in mammals including adult humans. While WAT stores excess calories and an excessive accumulation of fat causes obesity, BAT dissipates energy to produce heat through nonshivering thermogenesis for protection against cold environments and provides the potential for the development of novel anti-obesity treatments. The hypothalamus plays a central role in the control of energy balance. Specifically, recent observations indicate the importance of the dorsomedial hypothalamus (DMH) in thermoregulation. We have found that the orexigenic neuropeptide Y (NPY) in the DMH has distinct actions in modulating adiposity and BAT thermogenesis. Knockdown of NPY in the DMH elevates the thermogenic activity of classic BAT and promotes the development of brown adipocytes in WAT, leading to increased thermogenesis. These findings identify a novel potential target for combating obesity.
- Brown adipose tissue
- Dorsomedial hypothalamus
- Energy expenditure
- Neuropeptide Y
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- History and Philosophy of Science