Hormonal regulation of malic enzyme and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase in brown adipose tissue

S. D. Carvalho, N. Negrao, A. C. Bianco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


The activities of malic enzyme (ME) and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G-6-PDH), two NADPH-generating lipogenic enzymes, were measured in brown adipose tissue (BAT) of rats undergoing various neurohormonal manipulations. Methimazole-induced hypothyroidism doubled the activity of these two enzymes but, surprisingly, triiodothyronine (T3) given to hypothyroid rats caused a time- and dose-dependent stimulation of up to three- to fourfold. Unilateral BAT denervation modestly reduced the activity of these enzymes (~30%) and failed to prevent the stimulation induced by hypothyroidism, whereas growth hormone (GH) successfully blocked this effect of hypothyroidism. Insulin stimulated both enzymes regardless of the thyroid status but failed to abolish the inhibitory effect of GH. In intact rats, cold exposure caused a time-dependent increase in the activity of both ME and G-6-PDH, which reached 5.2- and 3-fold, respectively, after 96 h. This cold-induced stimulation was not observed in hypothyroid rats, but it was restored by physiological doses of thyroxine (800 ng · 100 g body wt-1 · 24 h-1). Replacement with T3 (300 ng · 100 g body wt-1 · 24 h-1), in contrast, did not have this effect. In hypothyroid rats with hemidenervation of BAT, norepinephrine (NE) modestly increased ME and G-6-PDH activities in the denervated side, with little or no effect in the intact side. Receptor-saturating doses of T3 (50 μg · 100 g body wt-1 · day-1 over 48 h) stimulated two- and threefold both enzymes in both sides, reducing or obliterating the effect of denervation. The data suggest a complex neurohormonal regulation of the activity of ME and G-6-PDH in BAT. Whereas thyroid hormone has a clear stimulatory effect, GH is inhibitory. NE does not appear to stimulate directly these enzymes. Its effect is probably largely mediated by the stimulation of local T3 production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E874-E881
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number6 27-6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1993


  • fatty acid biosynthesis
  • lipogenesis
  • norepinephrine
  • sympathetic nervous system
  • thermoregulation
  • thyroid hormone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Physiology


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