Fatty acid mobilization from adipose tissue during exercise

Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2003 Oct;14(8):386-92. doi: 10.1016/s1043-2760(03)00143-7.


By far the largest energy reserve in the human body is adipose tissue triglycerides, and these reserves are an important source of fuel during prolonged endurance exercise. To use this rich source of potential energy during exercise, adipose tissue triglycerides must first be hydrolyzed and the resultant fatty acids delivered to the working muscles. The aims of this review are to describe how exercise alters lipid mobilization from adipose tissue, to identify alternative sources of lipids and to discuss some of the key factors regulating fatty acid mobilization, uptake and oxidation during exercise. The impact of understanding factors involved in the coordinated regulation of lipid mobilization and oxidation during exercise goes far beyond its relevance for endurance exercise performance. A better understanding of the regulation of these processes will facilitate the development of more effective treatment modalities for obesity-related metabolic disorders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism*
  • Adult
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Lipolysis / physiology*


  • Fatty Acids