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Int J Obes. 1991 Sep;15(9):609-18.

The effects of noradrenaline and insulin on lipolysis in adipocytes isolated from nine different adipose depots of guinea-pigs.

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Department of Biology, Open University, Milton Keynes, UK.


The rates of glycerol release in adipocytes isolated from nine identified adipose depots of sedentary or exercised guinea-pigs were measured in the presence of adenosine deaminase and 10(-9) to 10(-5) M noradrenaline and/or 1-1000 muunit/ml of bovine insulin. Twenty minutes of exercise increased the basal noradrenaline-stimulated rates of lipolysis in all depots, but these effects, and their interactions with in vitro application of the neurotransmitter differed between depots, showing that the long-lasting effects of exercise and the response to acute application of NA involve different mechanisms that may occur separately or together in different adipose depots. In general, large depots had the highest resting rates of lipolysis and the lowest responses to both noradrenaline and insulin, and lipolysis was only slightly different from the basal rate in adipocytes incubated with mixtures of the two agents. The two small intermuscular depots had the lowest unstimulated rates of lipolysis, but the fastest change and greatest maximum response to both agents. Noradrenaline-stimulated lipolysis was most effectively inhibited by small quantities of insulin in these depots. Different combinations of these properties were demonstrated in two smaller superficial depots, the mesenteric and omental depot, and in the cardiac depots. The data demonstrate the physiological inhomogeneity of both 'subcutaneous' and 'intra-abdominal' depots, and are consistent with the hypothesis that intermuscular adipose tissue interacts locally with adjacent muscle. Noradrenaline-stimulated lipolysis was more effectively inhibited by 100 muunit/ml insulin in adipocytes from the mesenteric and omental depot in those from any other site. A possible role for this property in the enlargement of this depot in hyperinsulinaemia in humans is proposed.

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