β3-Adrenergic receptors (β3-ARs) are the predominant regulators of rodent brown adipose tissue (BAT) thermogenesis. However, in humans, the physiological relevance of BAT and β3-AR remains controversial. Herein, using primary human adipocytes from supraclavicular neck fat and immortalized brown/beige adipocytes from deep neck fat from 2 subjects, we demonstrate that the β3-AR plays a critical role in regulating lipolysis, glycolysis, and thermogenesis. Silencing of the β3-AR compromised genes essential for thermogenesis, fatty acid metabolism, and mitochondrial mass. Functionally, reduction of β3-AR lowered agonist-mediated increases in intracellular cAMP, lipolysis, and lipolysis-activated, uncoupling protein 1–mediated thermogenic capacity. Furthermore, mirabegron, a selective human β3-AR agonist, stimulated BAT lipolysis and thermogenesis, and both processes were lost after silencing β3-AR expression. This study highlights that β3-ARs in human brown/beige adipocytes are required to maintain multiple components of the lipolytic and thermogenic cellular machinery and that β3-AR agonists could be used to achieve metabolic benefit in humans.


Cheryl Cero, Hannah J. Lea, Kenneth Y. Zhu, Farnaz Shamsi, Yu-Hua Tseng, Aaron M. Cypess


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