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Metabolism. 2007 Apr;56(4):533-40.

Regional differences in adipose tissue metabolism in obese men.

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Molecular Endocrinology and Oncology Research Center, Laval University Medical Research Center and Laval University, Qu├ębec, Canada G1V 4G2.


We examined omental and subcutaneous adipose tissue adipocyte size, and lipolysis and lipoprotein lipase (LPL) activity in a sample of 33 men aged 22.6 to 61.2 years and with a body mass index ranging from 24.6 to 79.1 kg/m2. We tested the hypothesis that lipolysis rates would be higher in the omental fat depot than in subcutaneous adipose tissue and that this difference would persist across the spectrum of abdominal adiposity values. Omental and subcutaneous adipose tissue samples were obtained during surgery. Adipocytes were isolated by collagenase digestion. Adipocyte size and LPL activity as well as basal, isoproterenol-, forskolin-, and dibutyryl cyclic adenosine monophosphate-stimulated lipolysis were measured. Although adipocytes from both fat compartments were larger in obese subjects, no difference was observed in the size of omental vs subcutaneous fat cells. Lipoprotein lipase activity, expressed as a function of cell number, was significantly higher in omental than in subcutaneous fat tissue (P<.005). Basal lipolysis and lipolytic responses to isoproterenol, forskolin, or dibutyryl cyclic adenosine monophosphate, expressed either as a function of cell number or as a fold response over basal levels, were not significantly different in omental vs subcutaneous fat cells. When stratifying the sample in tertiles of waist circumference, adipocyte diameter was similar in the omental and subcutaneous depots for all adiposity values. Omental adipocyte size reached a plateau in the 2 upper tertiles of waist circumference, that is, from a waist circumference of 125 cm and above. Lipoprotein lipase activity was significantly higher in omental cells in the middle tertile of waist circumference (P=.05), and no regional difference was noted in lipolysis values across waist circumference tertiles. In conclusion, in normal-weight to morbidly obese men, although adipocyte size and lipolysis tended to increase with higher waist circumference, no difference was observed between the omental and subcutaneous fat depot.

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