Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Increased body weight is a major factor that interferes with smoking cessation. Nicotine, the main bioactive compound in tobacco, has been demonstrated to have an impact on energy balance, since it affects both feeding and energy expenditure at the central level. Among the central actions of nicotine on body weight, much attention has been focused on its effect on brown adipose tissue (BAT) thermogenesis, though its effect on browning of white adipose tissue (WAT) is unclear. Here, we show that nicotine induces the browning of WAT through a central mechanism and that this effect is dependent on the κ opioid receptor (KOR), specifically in the lateral hypothalamic area (LHA). Consistent with these findings, smokers show higher levels of uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) expression in WAT, which correlates with smoking status. These data demonstrate that central nicotine-induced modulation of WAT browning may be a target against human obesity.

Original publication




Journal article


Nat Commun

Publication Date





Adipose Tissue, Brown, Adipose Tissue, White, Adult, Animals, Body Weight, Female, Ganglionic Stimulants, Humans, Hypothalamus, Male, Mice, Knockout, Middle Aged, Nicotine, Rats, Sprague-Dawley, Receptors, Opioid, kappa, Thermogenesis, Uncoupling Protein 1