Human uncoupling proteins and obesity.

P. Schrauwen*, K. Walder, E. Ravussin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

54 Downloads (Pure)


Clinical Diabetes and Nutrition Section, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Phoenix AZ 85016, USA.

Uncoupling protein (UCP) 2 and UCP3 are newly discovered proteins that can uncouple ATP production from mitochondrial respiration, thereby dissipating energy as heat and affecting energy metabolism efficiency. In contrast to UCP1, which is only present in brown adipose tissue, UCP2 has a wide tissue distribution, whereas UCP3 is expressed predominantly in skeletal muscle. Some evidence of a role for UCPs in modulating metabolic rate was provided by linkage and association studies. Furthermore, UCP3 gene expression was found to correlate negatively with body mass index and positively with sleeping metabolic rate in Pima Indians. Treatment with thyroid hormone increases expression of the UCP2 and UCP3 genes. Other regulators of UCP2 and UCP3 gene expression are beta3-adrenergic agonists and glucocorticoids. Surprisingly, fasting has a stimulatory effect on UCP2 and UCP3 mRNA levels, possibly explained by the effects of free fatty acid on UCP2 and UCP3 gene expression.

Publication Types:
Review, Tutorial
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-105
Number of pages9
JournalObesity Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1999

Cite this