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Adipose tissues (ATs) are innervated by sympathetic nerves, which drive reduction of fat mass via lipolysis and thermogenesis. Here, we report a population of immunomodulatory leptin receptor-positive (LepR+) sympathetic perineurial barrier cells (SPCs) present in mice and humans, which uniquely co-express Lepr and interleukin-33 (Il33) and ensheath AT sympathetic axon bundles. Brown ATs (BATs) of mice lacking IL-33 in SPCs (SPCΔIl33) had fewer regulatory T (Treg) cells and eosinophils, resulting in increased BAT inflammation. SPCΔIl33 mice were more susceptible to diet-induced obesity, independently of food intake. Furthermore, SPCΔIl33 mice had impaired adaptive thermogenesis and were unresponsive to leptin-induced rescue of metabolic adaptation. We therefore identify LepR+ SPCs as a source of IL-33, which orchestrate an anti-inflammatory BAT environment, preserving sympathetic-mediated thermogenesis and body weight homeostasis. LepR+IL-33+ SPCs provide a cellular link between leptin and immune regulation of body weight, unifying neuroendocrinology and immunometabolism as previously disconnected fields of obesity research.

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IL-33, Tregs, brown adipose tissue, eosinophils, leptin receptor, obesity, perineurial cells, sympathetic nerves, thermogenesis