Absence of UCP3 in brown adipose tissue does not impair nonshivering thermogenesis

Michaela Liebig, Christa Von Praun, Gerhard Heldmaier, Martin Klingenspor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


We report on a novel Djungarian hamster mutant lineage that exhibits a loss of uncoupling protein (UCP) 3 mRNA and protein in brown adipose tissue (BAT), whereas UCP3 expression in skeletal muscle is only mildly diminished. In response to 2 d of cold exposure, UCP3 mRNA was 4.5-fold elevated in BAT of wild-type hamsters but remained undetectable in mutant hamsters. Notably, in BAT of warm- and cold-exposed mutant hamsters, UCP1 and UCP2 mRNA levels were increased. The tissue specificity of UCP3 deficiency suggests that the underlying unknown mutation impairs a factor controlling UCP3 gene expression selectively in brown adipocytes. In wildtype but not mutant primary brown adipocytes, UCP3 gene expression was stimulated by treatment with peroxisome proliferator activated receptor (PPAR) ligands. This implies that the underlying mutation causing UCP3 deficiency is expressed within brown adipocytes and disrupts PPAR-dependant transactivation of the UCP3 gene. On the functional level, we found no direct phenotypic consequences of altered UCP expression in BAT. The absence of UCP3 in BAT of cold-acclimated mutant hamsters affected neither maximal nonshivering thermogenesis elicited by noradrenaline nor the uncoupled respiration of isolated mitochondria in the presence of oligomycin and in response to palmitate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-126
Number of pages11
JournalPhysiological and Biochemical Zoology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes


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