Short photoperiod exposure increases adipocyte sensitivity to noradrenergic stimulation in Siberian hamsters

Robert R. Bowers, Thomas W. Gettys, Veronica Prpic, Ruth B.S. Harris, Timothy J. Bartness

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Siberian hamsters (Phodopus sungorus) exhibit a naturally occurring, reversible seasonal obesity with body fat peaking in long "summerlike" days (LDs) and reaching a nadir in short "winterlike" days (SDs). These SD-induced decreases in adiposity are mediated largely via sympathetic nervous system (SNS) innervation of white adipose tissue (WAT), as indicated by increased WAT norepinephrine (NE) turnover. We examined whether SDs also increase sensitivity to NE-stimulated lipolysis. This was accomplished by measuring NE- and β3-adrenoceptor (β3-AR) agonist (BRL-37344)-induced lipolysis (glycerol release) as well as NE-induced cAMP accumulation by inguinal, epididymal, and retroperitoneal WAT (IWAT, EWAT, and RWAT) in isolated adipocytes of LD- and SD-housed hamsters. SDs increased potency/efficacy of NE-triggered lipolysis in a temporally and fat pad-specific manner. Thus when WAT pad mass decreased most rapidly (5 wk of SDs), potency (sensitivity/EC50) and efficacy (maximal response asymptote) of NE-stimulated lipolysis were increased for all WAT pads and also at 10 wk for IWAT compared with their LD counterparts. SD enhancement of lipolysis was similar for NE and BRL-37344 in IWAT adipocytes. These results, coupled with our previous demonstration that SDs upregulate WAT β3-AR mRNA expression, suggest that increased β3-ARs mediated the SD-induced increased NE sensitivity. NE-stimulated adipocyte accumulation of cAMP was greater after 5 wk of SDs for IWAT and EWAT and after 10 wk of SDs for IWAT compared with LDs, with no photoperiod effect for RWAT. Therefore, the SD-induced increase in SNS drive to WAT and increased sensitivity to this drive may work together to increase lipolysis in SDs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R1354-R1360
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number5 57-5
StatePublished - May 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • BRL-37344
  • Body fat
  • Body weight
  • Lipolysis
  • Sympathetic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Short photoperiod exposure increases adipocyte sensitivity to noradrenergic stimulation in Siberian hamsters'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this