This study deals with mitochondrial energy efficiency in liver and skeletal muscle mitochondria in 15 days cold exposed rats. Cold exposure strongly increases the sensitivity to uncoupling by added palmitate of skeletal muscle but not liver mitochondria, while mitochondrial energy coupling in the absence of fatty acids is only slightly affected by cold in liver and skeletal muscle. In addition, uncoupling protein 3 content does not follow changes in skeletal muscle mitochondrial coupling. It is therefore concluded that skeletal muscle could play a direct thermogenic role based on fatty acid-induced mild uncoupling of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation.
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