Insulin and metabolic efficiency in rats. II. Effects of NE and cold exposure

T. J. Bartness, C. J. Billington, A. S. Levine, J. E. Morley, D. M. Brown, N. E. Rowland

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20 Scopus citations


The role of insulin in metabolic efficiency (ME, i.e., efficiency of body wt gain) was examined under conditions of maximal energy expenditure in control and diabetic rats. Long-lasting insulin was administered using a protocol that did not affect food intake and increased ME in both groups. Half the animals were injected chronically with norepinephrine (NE). NE alone in controls decreased body weight and ME and increased brown adipose tissue (BAT) growth, thermogenic potential [cytochrome c oxidase activity (COA)], and lipoprotein lipases (LPL) activity; however, in diabetics, body weight, ME, and food intake all decreased and only BAT LPL activity and DNA content increased. The combination of NE and insulin increased BAT protein and COA in diabetics; in controls, all BAT measures were further increased and ME was intermediate to that of either treatment alone. Cold exposure decreased body weight and ME, increased food intake and qualitatively produced similar increases in BAT growth, COA, and LPL activity in both controls and diabetics. In diabetics, combined cold exposure and insulin did not affect the increase in BAT growth or LPL activity resulting from either treatment alone, but in controls this combination decreased BAT growth and COA. It is concluded that, even under conditions of maximal energy expenditure, both extremes of basal insulin status result in decreased BAT growth and thermogenic potential, but have opposite effects on ME.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20/6
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1986


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