Sympathetic denervation of one white fat depot changes norepinephrine content and turnover in intact white and brown fat depots

Ruth B.S. Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


It is well-established that the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) regulates adipocyte metabolism and recently it has been reported that sensory afferents from white fat overlap anatomically with sympathetic efferents to white fat. The studies described here characterize the response of intact fat pads to selective sympathectomy (local 6-hydroxydopamine (6OHDA) injections) of inguinal (ING) or epididymal (EPI) fat in male NIH Swiss mice and provide in vivo evidence for communication between individual white and brown fat depots. The contralateral ING pad, both EPI pads, perirenal (PR), and mesenteric (MES) pads were significantly enlarged 4 weeks after denervating one ING pad, but only intrascapular brown adipose tissue (IBAT) increased when both ING pads were denervated. Denervation of one or both EPI pad had no effect on fat depot weights. In an additional experiment, norepinephrine turnover (NETO) was inhibited in ING, retroperitoneal (RP), MES, and IBAT 2 days after denervation of both EPI or of both ING pads. NE content was reduced to 10-30% of control values in all fat depots. There was no relation between early changes in NETO and fat pad weight 4 weeks after denervation, even though the reduction in NE content of intact fat pads was maintained. These data demonstrate that there is communication among individual fat pads, presumably through central integration of activity of sensory afferent and sympathetic efferent fibers, that changes sympathetic drive to white adipose tissue in a unified manner. In specific situations, removal of sympathetic efferents to one pad induces a compensatory enlargement of other intact depots.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1355-1364
Number of pages10
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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