Why Brown Fat has a lot of Nerve

Posted on 10 May 2019

Brown fat in mammals burns stored calories by producing heat, in a process that is controlled by nerves infiltrating this tissue. Unlike regular old white fat, which store a large reserve of calories, mitochondria-packed brown-fat cells burn more energy, meaning less calories are hoarded.

Research in mice has discovered that the regulation of the protein calsyntenin 3β, via the secretion of growth factor S100b is crucial in the innervation of brown adipose tissue (BAT).

Our findings should help to advance understandings of the basic biology of thermogenic fat and its innervation. Moreover, the identification of a soluble protein with neurotrophic actions on the sympathetic nervous system may also provide a therapeutic opportunity for promoting thermogenic fat activity in the treatment of obesity and associated metabolic disorders.

X. Zeng, et al. (2019)


  1. Zeng, X., Ye, M., Resch, J.M. et al. Innervation of thermogenic adipose tissue via a calsyntenin 3β–S100b axis. Nature 569, 229–235 (2019).
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