Sympathetic control of white adipose tissue in lean and obese humans

Acta Physiol Scand. 2003 Mar;177(3):351-7. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-201X.2003.01077.x.


Aim: To induce lipolysis, catecholamines could reach the adipocyte via the blood stream after being released from the adrenal medulla or, alternatively, via neuronal release in the vicinity of the fat cell. Sympatho-neuronal effects on fat tissue lipolysis have been demonstrated in experimental animal models. However, the role of sympathetic nerves in the control of lipolysis in human white adipose tissue, which is sparsely innervated, has not been clarified.

Conclusion: The present review summarizes evidence for a direct neuronal influence on lipolysis in humans.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Adipose Tissue / physiology*
  • Adipose Tissue / physiopathology
  • Adrenergic alpha-Agonists / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology
  • Epinephrine / metabolism
  • Femoral Nerve / physiology
  • Glycerol / analysis
  • Humans
  • Lipolysis / physiology
  • Muscles / physiology
  • Norepinephrine / metabolism
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Peroneal Nerve / physiology
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena
  • Sympathetic Nervous System / physiology*
  • Sympathetic Nervous System / physiopathology


  • Adrenergic alpha-Agonists
  • Glycerol
  • Norepinephrine
  • Epinephrine