In vitro studies of adipocytes taken from different body fat regions suggest substantial differences in lipolysis between intra-abdominal, lower-body subcutaneous, and abdominal subcutaneous regions. Gender and obesity appear to influence these regional differences. In situ measurements of glycerol release from adipose tissue provided further evidence that regional heterogeneity of lipolysis occurs in humans. In vivo studies of regional free fatty acid (FFA) release have confirmed that adipose tissue lipolysis varies between upper- and lower-body fat. Release of FFA from lower-body adipose tissue is less than that from upper-body adipose tissue in both obese and non-obese men and women. In non-obese men and women, meal ingestion suppresses FFA release from all adipose tissue regions, and adrenergic stimulation activated FFA release from different sites in a gender-specific fashion. Significant regional and gender differences in adipose tissue lipolysis occur in humans, and this could contribute to differences in the health effects of adipose tissue and could theoretically influence body fat distribution.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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