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Stimulatory, but not anxiogenic, doses of caffeine act centrally to activate interscapular brown adipose tissue thermogenesis in anesthetized male rats

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© 2021, The Author(s). The role of central orexin in the sympathetic control of interscapular brown adipose tissue (iBAT) thermogenesis has been established in rodents. Stimulatory doses of caffeine activate orexin positive neurons in the lateral hypothalamus, a region of the brain implicated in stimulating BAT thermogenesis. This study tests the hypothesis that central administration of caffeine is sufficient to activate BAT. Low doses of caffeine administered either systemically (intravenous [IV]; 10 mg/kg) and centrally (intracerebroventricular [ICV]; 5–10 μg) increases BAT thermogenesis, in anaesthetised (1.5 g/kg urethane, IV) free breathing male rats. Cardiovascular function was monitored via an indwelling intra-arterial cannula and exhibited no response to the caffeine. Core temperature did not significantly differ after administration of caffeine via either route of administration. Caffeine administered both IV and ICV increased neuronal activity, as measured by c-Fos-immunoreactivity within subregions of the hypothalamic area, previously implicated in regulating BAT thermogenesis. Significantly, there appears to be no neural anxiety response to the low dose of caffeine as indicated by no change in activity in the basolateral amygdala. Having measured the physiological correlate of thermogenesis (heat production) we have not measured indirect molecular correlates of BAT activation. Nevertheless, our results demonstrate that caffeine, at stimulatory doses, acting via the central nervous system can increase thermogenesis, without adverse cardio-dynamic impact.


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Scientific Reports





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Springer Nature



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