Muscle and whole body metabolism after norepinephrine

A V Kurpad, K Khan, Alexander Graham Calder, M Elia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


The effect of an infusion of norepinephrine (0.42 on energy metabolism in the whole body (using indirect calorimetry and the arteriovenous forearm catheterization techniques in eight healthy young male adults. The activity of the triglyceride-fatty acid cycle, which mainly operates in nonmuscular tissues, was also assessed by measuring glycerol turnover using [2H5]glycerol (to indicate lipolysis) and indirect calorimetry (to indicate net fat oxidation). Norepinephrine increased whole body oxygen consumption by almost 10% (P <0.01), but the estimated oxygen consumption of muscles tended to decrease. Muscle blood flow (measured by 133Xe) and forearm blood flow (measured by strain-gauge plethysmography) were not significantly affected by norepinephrine, but the rate of uptake of nonesterified fatty acids and beta-hydroxybutyrate increased severalfold (P <0.05), whereas that of glucose did not. The activity of the triglyceride-fatty acid cycle increased fourfold after norepinephrine administration, having a marginal effect on resting energy expenditure (approximately 1.5%) but accounting for approximately 15% of the increase in whole body energy expenditure. This study provides no evidence that skeletal muscle is an important site for norepinephrine-induced thermogenesis and suggests that an increase in the activity of the triglyceride-fatty acid cycle contributes to the norepinephrine-induced increase in energy expenditure of nonmuscular tissues.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E877-84
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 1994


  • Adult
  • Body Temperature
  • Body Temperature Regulation
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Fatty Acids
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Forearm
  • Glycerol
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscles
  • Norepinephrine
  • Regional Blood Flow
  • Skin Temperature


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