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Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2002 Jul;283(1):E58-65.

Effect of gender on lipid kinetics during endurance exercise of moderate intensity in untrained subjects.

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Center for Human Nutrition and Department of Internal Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.


We evaluated lipid metabolism during 90 min of moderate-intensity (50% VO(2) peak) cycle ergometer exercise in five men and five women who were matched on adiposity (24 +/- 2 and 25 +/- 1% body fat, respectively) and aerobic fitness (VO(2) peak: 49 +/- 2 and 47 +/- 1 ml x kg fat-free mass(-1) x min(-1), respectively). Substrate oxidation and lipid kinetics were measured by using indirect calorimetry and [(13)C]palmitate and [(2)H(5)]glycerol tracer infusion. The total increase in glycerol and free fatty acid (FFA) rate of appearance (R(a)) in plasma during exercise (area under the curve above baseline) was approximately 65% greater in women than in men (glycerol R(a): 317 +/- 40 and 195 +/- 33 micromol/kg, respectively; FFA R(a): 652 +/- 46 and 453 +/- 70 micromol/kg, respectively; both P < 0.05). Total fatty acid oxidation was similar in men and women, but the relative contribution of plasma FFA to total fatty acid oxidation was higher in women (76 +/- 5%) than in men (46 +/- 5%; P < 0.05). We conclude that lipolysis of adipose tissue triglycerides during moderate-intensity exercise is greater in women than in men, who are matched on adiposity and fitness. The increase in plasma fatty acid availability leads to a greater rate of plasma FFA tissue uptake and oxidation in women than in men. However, total fat oxidation is the same in both groups because of a reciprocal decrease in the oxidation rate of fatty acids derived from nonplasma sources, presumably intramuscular and possibly plasma triglycerides, in women.

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