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Biochimie. 2005 Jan;87(1):39-43.

Effects of testosterone on fat cell lipolysis. Species differences and possible role in polycystic ovarian syndrome.

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Department of Medicine at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.


Testosterone is a potent regulator of lipolysis by influencing catecholamine signal transduction in fat cells. Major species differences exist as regards the testosterone effect. In rodents testosterone increases beta-adrenergic receptor mediated signals to lipolysis at multiple steps in the lipolytic cascade. The sex hormone also increases alpha2-adrenoceptor antilipolytic signalling in hamster which unlike rat express this receptor in their fat cells. In humans the region of adipose tissue is critical. Visceral fat cell lipolysis is not responsive to testosterone but this sex hormone decreases catecholamine-induced lipolysis in subcutaneous fat cells due to inhibition of the expression of beta2-adrenoceptors and hormone sensitive lipase. In polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which is characterized as a hyperandrogenic state, the lipolytic effect of catecholamine is decreased in subcutaneous adipocytes due to low content of beta2-adrenoceptors and hormone sensitive lipase. It is possible that the increased testosterone levels are responsible for these abnormalities in catecholamine signal transduction in subcutaneous fat cells of PCOS women. However, in visceral fat cells of PCOS women catecholamine-induced lipolysis is enhanced which cannot be explained by testosterone.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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