Brown Adipose Tissue is the Key Depot for Glucose Clearance in Microbiota Depleted Mice

Min Li, Li Li, Baoguo Li, Catherine Hambly, Guanlin Wang, Yingga Wu, Zengguang Jin, Anyongqi Wang, Chaoqun Niu, Christian Wolfrum & John R. Speakman

Nature Communications


Gut microbiota deficient mice demonstrate accelerated glucose clearance. However, which tissues are responsible for the upregulated glucose uptake remains unresolved, with different studies suggesting that browning of white adipose tissue, or modulated hepatic gluconeogenesis, may be related to enhanced glucose clearance when the gut microbiota is absent. Here, we investigate glucose uptake in 22 different tissues in 3 different mouse models. We find that gut microbiota depletion via treatment with antibiotic cocktails (ABX) promotes glucose uptake in brown adipose tissue (BAT) and cecum. Nevertheless, the adaptive thermogenesis and the expression of uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) are dispensable for the increased glucose uptake and clearance. Deletion of Ucp1 expressing cells blunts the improvement of glucose clearance in ABX-treated mice. Our results indicate that BAT and cecum, but not white adipose tissue (WAT) or liver, contribute to the glucose uptake in the gut microbiota depleted mouse model and this response is dissociated from adaptive thermogenesis.