2013 年 34 巻 4 号 p. 173-178
Brown adipose tissue (BAT) is a heat-producing organ that plays an important role in maintenance of energy homeostasis. The purpose of this study was to test a novel method for stimulating BAT thermogenesis in rats. Application of electrical field stimulation to the dorsal surface of interscapular BAT caused a substantial rise in tissue temperature without affecting rectal temperature. The electrical stimulation failed to raise BAT temperature on the 2nd day after surgical sympathetic denervation. This is unlikely to be due to loss of thermogenic capacity, since neither UCP1 contents nor norepinephrine-induced thermogenesis were diminished 2 days after the denervation. A pharmacological experiment revealed that the BAT thermogenesis induced after electrical stimulation is mediated through β-adrenoceptors. The present study demonstrates that electrical stimulation applied to the dorsal surface of BAT is able to activate thermogenesis of BAT through mediation of norepinephrine released from sympathetic nerves. Our findings may provide a basis for developing a novel therapeutic procedure for obesity and related disorders.