Four days of fasting in the rat reduced brown-adipose-tissue (BAT) mass, mitochondrial protein, and tissue protein content. Specific binding of guanosine diposphate (GDP) to BAT mitochondria was depressed by 55% in 4d-fasted rats. Rats fasted for 3 d, and then refed a single carbohydrate meal (40 kJ), showed a significant increase in specific GDP-binding (27% above fasted) 24 h later, and a large increase in total binding. Specific activities of cytochrome oxidase and α-glycerophosphate dehydrogenase in BAT mitochondria were not significantly affected by fasting or refeeding. These results suggest that BAT may be partly responsible for the fall in metabolic rate associated with fasting and the delayed increase after carbo-hydrate refeeding. These effects may be due to changes in the mitochondrial proton-conductance pathway in brown fat.

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