Aims/hypothesis: The aim of this study was to investigate the effect and mechanisms of action of in vivo peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARgamma) activation on white adipose tissue (WAT) lipolysis and NEFA metabolism.
Materials and methods: Study rats were treated for 7 days with 15 mg/kg of rosiglitazone per day; control rats were not treated. After a 6-h fast, lipolysis and levels of mRNA for lipases were assessed in explants from various adipose depots.
Results: Rosiglitazone markedly increased basal and noradrenaline (norepinephrine)-stimulated glycerol and NEFA release from WAT explants, and amplified their inhibition by insulin. Primary adipocytes isolated from PPARgamma agonist-treated rats were also more responsive to noradrenaline stimulation expressed per cell, ruling out a contribution of an altered number of mature adipocytes in explants. Rosiglitazone concomitantly increased levels of mRNA transcripts for adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL) and monoglyceride lipase (MGL) in subcutaneous and visceral WAT, and mRNA for hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL) in subcutaneous WAT. Lipase expression increased within 12 h of in vitro exposure of naïve explants to rosiglitazone, suggesting direct transcriptional activation. In parallel, chronic in vivo treatment with rosiglitazone lowered plasma NEFAs and in WAT its expected stimulatory action on glycerol and NEFA recycling, and on the expression of genes involved in NEFA uptake and retention by WAT, such processes counteracting net NEFA export.
Conclusions/interpretation: These findings demonstrate that, in the face of its plasma NEFA-lowering action, PPARgamma agonism stimulates WAT lipolysis, an effect that is compensated by lipid-retaining pathways. The results further suggest that PPARgamma agonism stimulates lipolysis by increasing the lipolytic potential, including the expression levels of the genes encoding adipose triglyceride lipase and monoglyceride lipase.