Do estrogens enhance activation of brown and beiging of adipose tissues?

Aaron P. Frank, Biff F. Palmer, Deborah J. Clegg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations


Obesity and its associated co-morbidities are worldwide public health concerns. Obesity is characterized by excessive adipose tissue accumulation; however, it is important to recognize that human and rodent adipose tissues are made up of several distinct adipose tissue sub-types. White adipose tissue (WAT) is considered the prototypical fat cell, due to its capacity and capability to store large amounts of lipid. In contrast, brown adipose tissue (BAT) oxidizes substrates to generate heat. BAT contains more mitochondria than WAT and express uncoupling protein-1 (UCP1), which mediates BAT thermogenesis. A third sub-type of adipose tissue, Brown-in-white (BRITE)/beige adipocytes arise from WAT upon adrenergic stimulation and resembles BAT functionally. The energy burning feature of BAT/beige cells, combined with evidence of an inverse-correlation between BAT/beige adipose tissue and obesity have given rise to the hypothesis that obesity may be linked to BAT/beige 'malfunction'. Females have more BAT and perhaps an enhanced capacity to beige their adipose tissue when compared to males. Multiple signal pathways are capable of activating BAT thermogenesis and beiging of WAT; here, we discuss the potential role of estrogens in enhancing and mediating these factors to enhance adipose tissue thermogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2017


  • Beige adipose tissue
  • Brown adipose tissue (BAT)
  • Estrogens
  • UCP-1
  • White adipose tissue (WAT)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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