The β3-adrenergic receptor in the obesity and diabetes prone rhesus monkey is very similar to human and contains arginine at codon 64

Jeremy Walston, Adam Lowe, Kristi Silver, Yufeng Yang, Noni L. Bodkin, Barbara C. Hansen, Alan R. Shuldiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The β3-adrenergic receptor (ADRβ3) is a seven-membrane spanning, G-protein linked receptor expressed in brown adipose tissue in rodents, and visceral adipose tissue in humans. Stimulation of the receptor by norepinephrine leads to lipolysis and thermogenesis. In rodent models of obesity and diabetes, administration of β3-agonists results in weight loss and improved glucose tolerance. Studies indicate that the pharmacological properties of the ADRβ3 differ markedly between rodents and humans, making generalizations of rodent studies to humans difficult. We hypothesized that the obesity and diabetes prone rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta) would provide an excellent animal model to study the role of the ADRβ3 in the development of obesity and diabetes as well as for assessment of the therapeutic efficacy of β3-agonists. We sequenced the entire coding region of the rhesus ADRβ3 gene. Like humans, the rhesus ADRβ3 has two exons. There is 89% amino acid (aa) identity between human and rhesus compared to 82% aa identity between human and mouse. A single base deletion results in divergence of the intracellular carboxy terminus accounting for 26 of the 45 aa changes and 10 additional aa. Of the 15 rhesus monkeys studied, all were homozygous for Arg64. In humans, Arg64 (rather than Trp) is associated with increased body mass index, insulin resistance, and an earlier onset of type II diabetes mellitus. We conclude that the rhesus ADRβ3 is more similar to the human ADRβ3 than to the rodent ADRβ3 suggesting that this primate model may be more appropriate for physiologic and therapeutic studies of the ADRβ3 axis, and that Arg64 may influence susceptibility in this species to obesity, insulin resistance, and type II diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-213
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 1997


  • Brown adipose tissue
  • Insulin resistance syndrome
  • Non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus
  • Sympathetic nervous system
  • Visceral fat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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