Increased lipolysis of subcutaneous abdominal adipose tissue and altered noradrenergic activity in patients with Cushing's syndrome: an in-vivo microdialysis study

Physiol Res. 2006;55(4):421-8. Epub 2005 Oct 17.


Cushing's syndrome is associated with typical central redistribution of adipose tissue. The aim of the study was to assess lipolysis and catecholamines and their metabolites in subcutaneous abdominal adipose tissue using an in-vivo microdialysis technique. Nine patients with Cushing's syndrome and nine age-, gender- and body mass index (BMI)-matched control subjects were included in the study. Local glycerol concentrations were significantly increased in subcutaneous adipose tissue of patients with Cushing's syndrome (p<0.001). Plasma noradrenaline, dihydroxyphenylglycol and dihydroxyphenylalanine were decreased in patients with Cushing's syndrome (p<0.02, p<0.05, and p<0.02, respectively). Adrenaline, noradrenaline, dihydroxyphenylglycol and dihydroxyphenylalanine concentrations in subcutaneous abdominal adipose were non-significantly higher in patients with Cushing's syndrome. In conclusion, we showed that lipolysis in subcutaneous adipose tissue of patients with Cushing's syndrome is significantly increased as compared to healthy subjects. This finding together with non-significantly increased local catecholamine concentrations in these patients suggests a possible link between increased lipolysis and catecholaminergic activity in subcutaneous adipose tissue.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen
  • Adult
  • Cushing Syndrome / metabolism*
  • Cushing Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Dihydroxyphenylalanine / blood
  • Epinephrine / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Lipolysis / physiology*
  • Male
  • Methoxyhydroxyphenylglycol / analogs & derivatives
  • Methoxyhydroxyphenylglycol / blood
  • Microdialysis
  • Middle Aged
  • Norepinephrine / blood*
  • Subcutaneous Fat / innervation
  • Subcutaneous Fat / metabolism*
  • Sympathetic Nervous System / physiology*


  • Methoxyhydroxyphenylglycol
  • Dihydroxyphenylalanine
  • 3,4-dihydroxyphenylglycol
  • Hydrocortisone
  • Norepinephrine
  • Epinephrine