It has been previously demonstrated that brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) regulates glucose metabolism and energy expenditure in rodent diabetic models such as C57BL/KsJ-leprdb/leprdb (db/db) mice. Central administration of BDNF has been found to reduce blood glucose in db/db mice, suggesting that BDNF acts through the central nervous system. In the present study we have expanded these investigations to explore the effect of central administration of BDNF on energy metabolism. Intracerebroventricular administration of BDNF lowered blood glucose and increased pancreatic insulin content of db/db mice compared with vehicle-treated pellet pair-fed db/db mice. While body temperatures of the pellet pair-fed db/db mice given vehicle were reduced because of restricted food supply in this pair-feeding condition, BDNF treatment remarkably alleviated the reduction of body temperature suggesting the enhancement of thermogenesis. BDNF enhanced norepinephrine turnover and increased uncoupling protein-1 mRNA expression in the interscapular brown adipose tissue. Our evidence indicates that BDNF activates the sympathetic nervous system via the central nervous system and regulates energy expenditure in obese diabetic animals.