Arginine-vasopressin directly promotes a thermogenic and pro-inflammatory adipokine expression profile in brown adipocytes

Sebastian Küchler, Nina Perwitz, Rafael Reinhold Schick, Johannes Klein, Sören Westphal*

*Corresponding author for this work
10 Citations (Scopus)


Arginine-vasopressin (AVP) - via activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis - may play a role in the regulation of energy homeostasis and related cardiovascular complications. Brown adipose tissue (BAT) - via dissipation of energy in the form of heat - contributes to whole body energy balance. BAT expresses vasopressin receptors. We investigated direct effects of AVP on brown adipose endocrine and metabolic functions. UCP-1 protein expression in differentiated brown adipocytes was induced after acute exposure of adipocytes to AVP. This effect was time-dependent with a maximum increase after 8. h. AVP also induced a time- and dose-dependent increase in p38 MAP kinase phosphorylation. Pharmacological inhibition of p38 MAP kinase with SB 202190 abolished the induction of UCP-1 protein expression. Furthermore, while acute AVP treatment enhanced mRNA expression of MCP-1 and IL-6, adiponectin mRNA expression was reduced. Yet, on the level of intracellular glucose uptake, there was no AVP-induced change of adipose insulin-induced glucose uptake. Finally, there was no difference in lipid accumulation between control and AVP-treated cells.Taken together, our data demonstrate direct effects of AVP on thermogenic, inflammatory, and glucoregulatory gene expression in brown adipocytes, thus expanding the hitherto known spectrum of this neuropeptides's biological effects and suggesting a direct adipotropic role as a stress-promoting factor.

Original languageEnglish
JournalRegulatory Peptides
Issue number2-3
Pages (from-to)126-132
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 01.09.2010


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