Regulation of lipolysis in adipocytes

Annu Rev Nutr. 2007:27:79-101. doi: 10.1146/annurev.nutr.27.061406.093734.


Lipolysis of white adipose tissue triacylglycerol stores results in the liberation of glycerol and nonesterified fatty acids that are released into the vasculature for use by other organs as energy substrates. In response to changes in nutritional state, lipolysis rates are precisely regulated through hormonal and biochemical signals. These signals modulate the activity of lipolytic enzymes and accessory proteins, allowing for maximal responsiveness of adipose tissue to changes in energy requirements and availability. Recently, a number of novel adipocyte triacylglyceride lipases have been identified, including desnutrin/ATGL, greatly expanding our understanding of adipocyte lipolysis. We have also begun to better appreciate the role of a number of nonenzymatic proteins that are critical to triacylglyceride breakdown. This review provides an overview of key mediators of lipolysis and the regulation of this process by changes in nutritional status and nutrient intakes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / enzymology
  • Adipocytes / metabolism
  • Adipocytes / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Hormones / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Lipase / metabolism
  • Lipolysis / physiology*
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Triglycerides / metabolism


  • Hormones
  • Triglycerides
  • Lipase