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Metabolism. 2002 Nov;51(11):1514-8.

Differences in the lipolytic function of adipose tissue preparations from Black American and Caucasian women.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858, USA.


The purpose of this study was to determine the potential causes of the lower lipolytic rates in obese Black American women compared to obese Caucasian women. Subcutaneous and omental adipose tissue were obtained from subjects during abdominal surgery, and hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL) mass, mRNA, and activity were determined. HSL mRNA levels did not differ between the Black American and Caucasian women in either subcutaneous or omental adipose tissue. However, HSL mass was approximately 35% lower (P <.05) in both subcutaneous and omental adipose tissue of the Black Americans. Because of these differences, we measured HSL activity in frozen subcutaneous and omental adipose tissue, and also measured basal and isoproterenol-stimulated lipolytic rates in tissue fragments. No racial differences were found in the activity of HSL in either subcutaneous or omental adipose tissue. However, basal lipolytic rates in the Black Americans were 53% and 44% lower (P <.05) in the subcutaneous and omental fat, respectively, compared to the Caucasian women, despite a lack of difference in cell size between the 2 groups. Interestingly, the degree of stimulation by isoproterenol was higher in both the subcutaneous and omental adipose tissue of the Black American than those of the Caucasian women, resulting in equal stimulation by isoproterenol in the 2 groups. These results indicate that despite the lower mass and lower basal HSL activity in the obese Black American women, stimulation of HSL results in equal activity of the enzyme in the 2 races. This suggests that the signaling pathway of HSL stimulation is more efficient in the Black American women.

Copyright 2002, Elsevier Science (USA). All rights reserved.

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