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Lean in one way, in obesity another: effects of moderate exercise in brown adipose tissue of early overfed male Wistar rats

Abstract

Background

Early postnatal overfeeding (PO) induces long-term overweight and reduces brown adipose tissue (BAT) thermogenesis. Exercise has been suggested as a possible intervention to increase BAT function. In this study, we investigated chronical effects of moderate-intensity exercise in BAT function in postnatal overfed male Wistar rats

Methods

Litters’ delivery was on postnatal-day 0 - PN0. At PN2, litters were adjusted to nine (normal litter – NL) or three pups (small litter – SL) per dam. Animals were weaned on PN21 and in PN30 randomly divided into sedentary (NL-Sed and SL-Sed) or exercised (NL-Exe and SL-Exe), N of 14 litters per group. Exercise protocol started (PN30) with an effort test; training sessions were performed three times weekly at 60% of the VO2max achieved in effort test, until PN80. On PN81, a temperature transponder was implanted beneath the interscapular BAT, whose temperature was assessed in periods of lights-on and -off from PN87 to PN90. Sympathetic nerve activation of BAT was registered at PN90. Animals were euthanized at PN91 and tissues collected

Results

PO impaired BAT thermogenesis in lights-on (pPO < 0.0001) and -off (pPO < 0.01). Exercise increased BAT temperature in lights-on (pExe < 0.0001). In NL-Exe, increased BAT activity was associated with higher sympathetic activity (pExe < 0.05), β3-AR (pExe < 0.001), and UCP1 (pExe < 0.001) content. In SL-Exe, increasing BAT thermogenesis is driven by a combination of tissue morphology remodeling (pExe < 0.0001) with greater effect in increasing UCP1 (pExe < 0.001) and increased β3-AR (pExe < 0.001) content.

Conclusion

Moderate exercise chronically increased BAT thermogenesis in both, NL and SL groups. In NL-Exe by increasing Sympathetic activity, and in SL-Exe by a combination of increased β3-AR and UCP1 content with morphologic remodeling of BAT. Chronically increasing BAT thermogenesis in obese subjects may lead to higher overall energy expenditure, favoring the reduction of obesity and related comorbidities.

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Fig. 1: Maximal aerobic capacity at PN80.
Fig. 2: Long-term effects of postnatal early overfeeding and moderate-intensity exercise in the BAT temperature and Sympathetic activity.
Fig. 3: Long-term effects of postnatal early overfeeding and moderate-intensity exercise in BAT UCP1 and β3-AR content and morphology.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the technicians, Ms. Maroly Pinto and Mrs. Marli Licero, for working on the care of rats in the Local Animal Facility. The authors would also like to thank the Brazilian federal science agencies: Co-ordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES) and National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq), for the financial support in this work.

Funding

This work was supported by the Co-ordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES) and National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq).

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DLA, KPR, and PCFM designed the study, DLA, VMM, LEC, TAR, CCSF, LPT, MVGR, AROF, MNCP, AP, MDFJ, and RAM conducted the experiments, and analyze the data with RMG, IHT, JAA, and PCFM; DLA wrote the paper, all the authors have read, revised and contributed to the final version of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final version of the manuscript submitted for publication and agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved. All persons designated as authors qualify for authorship, and all those who qualify for authorship are listed.

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Correspondence to Douglas Lopes Almeida.

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Almeida, D.L., Moreira, V.M., Cardoso, L.E. et al. Lean in one way, in obesity another: effects of moderate exercise in brown adipose tissue of early overfed male Wistar rats. Int J Obes (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41366-021-00969-1

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