Adipose tissue lipolysis

Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2010 Jul;13(4):377-81. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e32833bed6a.


Purpose of review: Adipose tissue lipolysis is a critical pathway for the maintenance of energy homeostasis through the degradation of triglycerides and the release of fatty acids into the circulation. The understanding of the cellular factors regulating triglyceride hydrolysis and the metabolic function of lipases has considerably expanded in the last few years, revealing an unexpected complexity. This review aims at describing recent discoveries related to the lipolytic pathway and its regulatory mechanisms.

Recent findings: Considerable progress has been made in understanding the role and the mechanisms of activation of the lipolytic enzymes. Recent discoveries have dramatically altered the view of adipose tissue lipolysis and highlighted the importance of additional molecular actors in regulating this process. Catecholamines, natriuretic peptides, and insulin are considered to be the major regulators of lipolysis in humans. However, autocrine/paracrine factors such as metabolites and prostaglandins may also participate in its regulation.

Summary: The manipulation of lipolysis has therapeutic potential in the metabolic disorders frequently associated with obesity. Unraveling the molecular events occurring during regulation of lipolysis may lead to novel therapeutic targets.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism*
  • Catecholamines / metabolism
  • Cell Communication
  • Fatty Acids / blood*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Lipolysis*
  • Natriuretic Peptides / metabolism
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Prostaglandins / metabolism
  • Triglycerides / metabolism*


  • Catecholamines
  • Fatty Acids
  • Insulin
  • Natriuretic Peptides
  • Prostaglandins
  • Triglycerides