The impact of body composition on the regulation of lipolysis during short-term fasting

Samuel Klein, Vernon R. Young, George L. Blackburn, Bruce R. Bistrian, Robert R. Wolfe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Lipolytic rates were determined in normal-weight young adult (low body fat), normal-weight elderly (moderate body fat), and obese young adult (high body fat) subjects after an overnight (12-15 hr) and short-term (60-87 hr) fasting period. A simultaneous infusion of [1-13C] palmitate acid and [2H5]glycerol was used to measure the inflow of palmitate and glycerol into the bloodstream, and H2lsO dilution was used to measure body composition. The amount of body fat differed between the young adult (11 kg), elderly (23kg) and obese (49 kg) subjects. Total lean body mass was similar in the normal-weight young adult (60 kg) and obese (63 kg) groups, but was lower in the elderly (46 kg). Lipolytic rates per unit of fat mass decreased in each group relative to the increase in the amount of body fat. Lipolytic rates, expressed as a function of lean body mass, however, were the same in all three groups. These results suggest that body composition contributes to the regulation of lipolysis during fasting. The decreased rate of lipolysis in subjects who have excess body fat may reflect the decreased need, per unit fat mass, for lipolysis to meet the energy requirements of the lean body mass.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-84
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American College of Nutrition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 1988


  • Body composition
  • Fasting
  • Lipolysis


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