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Science 297 (5582): 780-781

Copyright © 2002 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

A Sympathetic Defense Against Obesity

Abdul G. Dulloo

One of the most puzzling questions in obesity research is why some humans rapidly gain weight when they overeat, whereas others do not. In a compelling Perspective, Dulloo explains exciting new findings (Bachman et al.) that reveal the molecular mechanisms underlying thermogenesis, a process in which extra food is converted into heat instead of fat. As Dulloo discloses, diet-induced thermogenesis is under the control of signaling through b-adrenergic receptors of the sympathetic nervous system. This work opens the door to developing anti-obesity therapeutics that activate diet-induced thermogenesis.

The author is in the Department of Medicine, Division of Physiology, University of Fribourg, CH-1700 Switzerland. E-mail: abdul.dulloo{at}

Sarcolipin trumps {beta}-adrenergic receptor signaling as the favored mechanism for muscle-based diet-induced thermogenesis.
E. Bombardier, I. C. Smith, D. Gamu, V. A. Fajardo, C. Vigna, R. A. Sayer, S. C. Gupta, N. C. Bal, M. Periasamy, and A. R. Tupling (2013)
FASEB J 27, 3871-3878
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Obesity and adipokines: effects on sympathetic overactivity.
M. M. Smith and C. T. Minson (2012)
J. Physiol. 590, 1787-1801
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Neuronal Receptor Activity-Modifying Protein 1 Promotes Energy Expenditure in Mice.
Z. Zhang, X. Liu, D. A. Morgan, A. Kuburas, D. R. Thedens, A. F. Russo, and K. Rahmouni (2011)
Diabetes 60, 1063-1071
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Vagal tone dominates autonomic control of mouse heart rate at thermoneutrality.
S. J. Swoap, C. Li, J. Wess, A. D. Parsons, T. D. Williams, and J. M. Overton (2008)
Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 294, H1581-H1588
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and Obesity.
S. Saadeh (2007)
Nutr Clin Pract 22, 1-10
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Obesity and thermogenesis related to the consumption of caffeine, ephedrine, capsaicin, and green tea.
K. Diepvens, K. R. Westerterp, and M. S. Westerterp-Plantenga (2007)
Am J Physiol Regulatory Integrative Comp Physiol 292, R77-R85
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Chronic Sympathetic Activation: Consequence and Cause of Age-Associated Obesity?.
D. R. Seals and C. Bell (2004)
Diabetes 53, 276-284
   Abstract »    Full Text »

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