Lipolysis in adipocytes, the hydrolysis of triacylglycerol (TAG) to release fatty acids (FAs) and glycerol for use by other organs, is a unique function of white adipose tissue. Lipolysis in adipocytes occurs at the surface of cytosolic lipid droplets, which have recently gained much attention as dynamic organelles integral to lipid metabolism. Desnutrin/ATGL is now established as a bona fide TAG hydrolase and mutations in human desnutrin/ATGL/PNPLA2, as well as in its activator, comparative gene identification 58, are associated with Neutral Lipid Storage Disease. Furthermore, recent identification of AdPLA as the major adipose phospholipase A(2), has led to the discovery of a dominant autocrine/paracrine regulation of lipolysis through PGE(2). Here, we review emerging concepts in the key players in lipolysis and the regulation of this process. We also examine recent findings in mouse models and humans with alterations/mutations in genes involved in lipolysis and discuss activation of lipolysis in adipocytes as a potential therapeutic target.
2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.