Alpha-adrenergic-induced changes in hamster (Mesocricetus) brown adipocyte respiration and membrane potential

Barbara A Horwitz, J. Hamilton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


1. Respiratory rates of brown adipocytes were stimulated by 10 μM phenylephrine, the magnitude of this stimulation being about only one-third that evoked by 1 μM isoproterenol, or norepinephrine. 2. The smaller thermogenic response to phenylephrine did not reflect limited substrate availability as shown by the finding that respiration with phenylephrine plus butyrate was not greater than that with phenylephrine or butyrate alone. 3. These data also imply that the thermogenic response to the α-agonist does not involve a significant degree of mitochondrial uncoupling. 4. Examination of in vivo changes in brown adipocyte membrane potentials indicated that phenylephrine and isoproterenol can each elicit multiphasic responses (i.e. depolarization followed by hyperpolarization and a second depolarization), although the magnitude and duration of each phase differed for the two agonists. 5. The initial depolarization occurring within seconds after norepinephrine injection appears to result primarily from activation of α-adrenergic receptors, with a small contribution from the β -pathway. 6. Similarly, the subsequent hyperpolarization and second depolarization primarily reflect events associated with the activated β-adrenergic pathway, with a modest contribution from α-mediated events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-104
Number of pages6
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology. Part C, Comparative
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology


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