Caveolin-1 (Cav1)-ablated mice display impaired lipolysis in white adipose tissue. They also seem to have an impairment in brown adipose tissue function, implying that Cav1-ablated mice could encounter problems in surviving longer periods in cold temperatures. To investigate this, Cav1-ablated mice and wild-type mice were transferred to cold temperatures for extended periods of time, and parameters related to metabolism and thermogenesis were investigated. Unexpectedly, the Cav1-ablated mice survived in the cold. There were no differences between Cav1-ablated and wild-type mice with regard to food intake, in behavior related to shivering, or in body temperature. The Cav1-ablated mice had a halved total fat content independently of acclimation temperature. There was no difference in brown adipose tissue uncoupling protein-1 (UCP1) protein amount, and isolated brown fat mitochondria were thermogenically competent but displayed 30% higher thermogenic capacity. However, the β3-adrenergic receptor amount was reduced by about one-third in the Cav1-ablated mice at all acclimation temperatures. Principally in accordance with this, a higher than standard dose of norepinephrine was needed to obtain full norepinephrine-induced thermogenesis in the Cav1-ablated mice; the higher dose was also needed for the Cav1-ablated mice to be able to utilize fat as a substrate for thermogenesis. In conclusion, the ablation of Cav1 impairs brown adipose tissue function by a desensitization of the adrenergic response; however, the desensitization is not evident in the animal as it is overcome physiologically, and Cav1-ablated mice can therefore survive in prolonged cold by nonshivering thermogenesis.
- brown adipose tissue
- brown fat mitochondria
- respiratory quotient
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