Editors' ChoicePhysiology

The Nerve of Fat Cells!

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Science's STKE  30 Oct 2001:
Vol. 2001, Issue 106, pp. tw403
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2001.106.tw403

In white adipose tissue, the metabolism of fat stored in the adipocytes can be triggered in culture by treatment with neural factors such as catecholamines. Turtzo et al. verify this in cultures of adipocytes with sympathetic neurons and further show that adipocytes affect neuronal activity as well. Adipocytes stimulated the secretion of neuropeptide Y (NPY) from sympathetic neurons in the same culture, and the authors speculate that this effect may occur through the release of an adipocyte-derived soluble factor. The sympathetic neurons inhibited the stimulatory effect of a β-adrenergic agonist on lipolysis in adipocytes and decreased the secretion of the hormone leptin from the adipocytes. Addition of exogenous NPY also decreased lipolysis. The study suggests that energy metabolism may be regulated by crosstalk between adipocytes and sympathetic neurons.

L. C. Turtzo, R. Marx, M. D. Lane, Cross-talk between sympathetic neurons and adipocytes in coculture. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 98, 12385-12390 (2001). [Abstract] [Full Text]

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