Catecholamine-induced lipolysis was investigated in nonobese females and males. Isolated subcutaneous adipocytes were obtained from the abdominal and gluteal regions. The lipolytic effect of noradrenaline was four to fivefold more marked in abdominal adipocytes than in gluteal fat cells. This regional difference was more apparent in females than in males. No site differences were observed when lipolysis was stimulated with agents acting at different postreceptor levels. The beta-adrenergic lipolytic sensitivity was 10-20 times greater in abdominal adipocytes from both sexes than in gluteal adipocytes. Abdominal adipocytes from females showed a 40 times lower alpha 2-adrenergic antilipolytic sensitivity than did gluteal adipocytes, but the adenosine receptor sensitivity was similar in both sites. Beta-receptor affinity for agonists displayed no site or sex variation. Abdominal adipocytes showed a twofold increased beta-adrenoceptor density than did gluteal cells from both sexes. The alpha 2-adrenoceptor density was similar in all regions, but in females the affinity of clonidine for these sites was 10-15 times lower in the abdominal fat cells compared with gluteal cells. In conclusion, regional differences in catecholamine-induced lipolysis are regulated at the adrenoceptor level, chiefly because of site variations in beta-adrenoceptor density. Further variations in the affinity properties of alpha 2-adrenergic receptor in females may explain why the regional differences in catecholamine-induced lipolysis are more pronounced in women than in men.


H Wahrenberg, F Lönnqvist, P Arner


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