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.

Leptin is a hormone produced by the adipose tissue that acts in the brain, stimulating white fat breakdown. We find that the lipolytic effect of leptin is mediated through the action of sympathetic nerve fibers that innervate the adipose tissue. Using intravital two-photon microscopy, we observe that sympathetic nerve fibers establish neuro-adipose junctions, directly "enveloping" adipocytes. Local optogenetic stimulation of sympathetic inputs induces a local lipolytic response and depletion of white adipose mass. Conversely, genetic ablation of sympathetic inputs onto fat pads blocks leptin-stimulated phosphorylation of hormone-sensitive lipase and consequent lipolysis, as do knockouts of dopamine β-hydroxylase, an enzyme required for catecholamine synthesis. Thus, neuro-adipose junctions are necessary and sufficient for the induction of lipolysis in white adipose tissue and are an efferent effector of leptin action. Direct activation of sympathetic inputs to adipose tissues may represent an alternative approach to induce fat loss, circumventing central leptin resistance. PAPERCLIP.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





84 - 94


Adipose Tissue, White, Animals, Humans, Leptin, Lipolysis, Mice, Phosphorylation, Receptors, Adrenergic, beta, Sympathetic Nervous System