Uncoupling protein 1-independent effects of eicosapentaenoic acid in brown adipose tissue of diet-induced obese female mice

Emily K. Miller, Mandana Pahlavani, Latha Ramalingam, Shane Scoggin, Naima Moustaid-Moussa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Brown adipose tissue (BAT) plays a key role in energy expenditure through its thermogenic function, making its activation a popular target to reduce obesity. We recently reported that male mice housed at thermoneutrality with uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) deficiency had increased weight gain and glucose intolerance, but eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) ameliorated these effects. Whether female mice respond similarly to lack of UCP1 and to EPA remains unknown. We hypothesize that the effects of EPA on BAT activation are independent of UCP1 expression. We used female wild type (WT) and UCP1 knockout (KO) mice housed at thermoneutrality (30°C) as an obesogenic environment and fed them high fat (HF) diets with or without EPA for up to 14 weeks. Body weight (BW), body composition, and insulin and glucose tolerance tests were performed during the feeding trial. At termination, serum and BAT were harvested for further analyses. Mice in the KO-EPA group had significantly lower BW than KO-HF mice. In addition, KO-HF mice displayed significantly impaired glucose tolerance compared to their WT-HF littermates. However, EPA significantly enhanced glucose clearance in the KO mice compared to KO-HF mice. Protein levels of the mitochondrial cytochrome C oxidase subunits I, II, and IV were significantly lower in KO mice compared to WT. Our findings support that ablation of UCP1 is detrimental to energy metabolism of female mice in thermoneutral conditions. However, unexpectedly, EPA's protective effects against diet-induced obesity and glucose intolerance in these mice were independent of UCP1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number108819
JournalJournal of Nutritional Biochemistry
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Brown adipose tissue
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid
  • Female mice
  • Obesity
  • Thermoneutrality
  • Uncoupling protein 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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