A newly identified signaling pathway that stimulates glucose uptake in brown fat cells might be useful for treating type 2 diabetes and obesity, according to a study in The Journal of Cell Biology. When the body encounters cold temperatures, the sympathetic nervous system activates adrenoceptors on the surface of brown fat cells to stimulate glucose uptake from the bloodstream.
Brown fat cells then use this glucose as a fuel source to generate body heat. Glucose uptake also can be induced by insulin. However, although insulin-stimulated glucose-uptake is well understood, the mechanisms involved in the adrenoceptor-dependent process have been unclear.
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