Activation of brown fat thermogenesis increases energy expenditure and alleviates obesity. Sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is important in brown/beige adipocyte thermogenesis. Here we discover a fat-derived “adipokine” neurotrophic factor neurotrophin 3 (NT-3) and its receptor Tropomyosin receptor kinase C (TRKC) as key regulators of SNS growth and innervation in adipose tissue. NT-3 is highly expressed in brown/beige adipocytes, and potently stimulates sympathetic neuron neurite growth. NT-3/TRKC regulates a plethora of pathways in neuronal axonal growth and elongation. Adipose tissue sympathetic innervation is significantly increased in mice with adipocyte-specific NT-3 overexpression, but profoundly reduced in mice with TRKC haploinsufficiency (TRKC +/−). Increasing NT-3 via pharmacological or genetic approach promotes beige adipocyte development, enhances cold-induced thermogenesis and protects against diet-induced obesity (DIO); whereas TRKC + /− or SNS TRKC deficient mice are cold intolerant and prone to DIO. Thus, NT-3 is a fat-derived neurotrophic factor that regulates SNS innervation, energy metabolism and obesity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)