Adipocyte lipases and defect of lipolysis in human obesity

Dominique Langin, Andrea Dicker, Geneviéve Tavernier, Johan Hoffstedt, Aline Mairal, Mikael Rydén, Erik Arner, Audrey Sicard, Christopher M. Jenkins, Nathalie Viguerie, Vanessa Van Harmelen, Richard W. Gross, Cecilia Holm, Peter Arner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

302 Scopus citations


The mobilization of fat stored in adipose tissue is mediated by hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL) and the recently characterized adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL), yet their relative importance in lipolysis is unknown. We show that a novel potent inhibitor of HSL does not inhibit other lipases. The compound counteracted catecholamine-stimulated lipolysis in mouse adipocytes and had no effect on residual triglyceride hydrolysis and lipolysis in HSL-null mice. In human adipocytes, catecholamine- and natriuretic peptide-induced lipolysis were completely blunted by the HSL inhibitor. When fat cells were not stimulated, glycerol but not fatty acid release was inhibited. HSL and ATGL mRNA levels increased concomitantly during adipocyte differentiation. Abundance of the two transcripts in human adipose tissue was highly correlated in habitual dietary conditions and during a hypocaloric diet, suggesting common regulatory mechanisms for the two genes. Comparison of obese and nonobese subjects showed that obesity was associated with a decrease in catecholamine-induced lipolysis and HSL expression in mature fat cells and in differentiated preadipocytes. In conclusion, HSL is the major lipase for catecholamine- and natriuretic peptide-stimulated lipolysis, whereas ATGL mediates the hydrolysis of triglycerides during basal lipolysis. Decreased catecholamine-induced lipolysis and low HSL expression constitute a possibly primary defect in obesity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3190-3197
Number of pages8
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2005


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