Hypothalamic control of brown adipose tissue thermogenesis

Sebastien M. Labbé, Alexandre Caron, Damien Lanfray, Boris Monge-Rofarello, Timothy J. Bartness, Denis Richard

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


It has long been known, in large part from animal studies, that the control of brown adipose tissue (BAT) thermogenesis is insured by the central nervous system (CNS), which integrates several stimuli in order to control BAT activation through the sympathetic nervous system (SNS). SNS-mediated BAT activity is governed by diverse neurons found in brain structures involved in homeostatic regulations and whose activity is modulated by various factors including oscillations of energy fluxes. The characterization of these neurons has always represented a challenging issue. The available literature suggests that the neuronal circuits controlling BAT thermogenesis are largely part of an autonomic circuitry involving the hypothalamus, brainstem and the SNS efferent neurons. In the present review, we recapitulate the latest progresses in regards to the hypothalamic regulation of BAT metabolism. We briefly addressed the role of the thermoregulatory pathway and its interactions with the energy balance systems in the control of thermogenesis. We also reviewed the involvement of the brain melanocortin

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number150
JournalFrontiers in Systems Neuroscience
Issue numberNovember
StatePublished - Nov 3 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Brown adipose tissue
  • Endocannabinoid
  • Hypothalamus
  • Melanocortin
  • Non-shivering thermogenesis
  • Steroidogenic factor 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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