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Biochimie. 2011 Oct;93(10):1631-40. doi: 10.1016/j.biochi.2011.05.018. Epub 2011 May 30.

Several agents and pathways regulate lipolysis in adipocytes.

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  • 1Department of Basic Sciences in Health, Federal University of Mato Grosso, Cuiab√°, Mato Grosso, Brazil.


Adipose tissue is the only tissue capable of hydrolyzing its stores of triacylglycerol (TAG) and of mobilizing fatty acids and glycerol in the bloodstream so that they can be used by other tissues. The full hydrolysis of TAG depends on the activity of three enzymes, adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL), hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL) and monoacylglycerol lipase, each of which possesses a distinct regulatory mechanism. Although more is known about HSL than about the other two enzymes, it has recently been shown that HLS and ATGL can be activated simultaneously, such that the mechanism that enables HSL to access the surface of lipid droplets also permits the stimulation of ATGL. The classical pathway of lipolysis activation in adipocytes is cAMP-dependent. The production of cAMP is modulated by G-protein-coupled receptors of the Gs/Gi family and cAMP degradation is regulated by phosphodiesterase. However, other pathways that activate TAG hydrolysis are currently under investigation. Lipolysis can also be started by G-protein-coupled receptors of the Gq family, through molecular mechanisms that involve phospholipase C, calmodulin and protein kinase C. There is also evidence that increased lipolytic activity in adipocytes occurs after stimulation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway or after cGMP accumulation and activation of protein kinase G. Several agents contribute to the control of lipolysis in adipocytes by modulating the activity of HSL and ATGL. In this review, we have summarized the signalling pathways activated by several agents involved in the regulation of TAG hydrolysis in adipocytes.

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