Hormonal Regulation of Fatty Acid Synthetase, acetyl-CoA Carboxylase and Fatty Acid Synthesis in Mammalian Adipose Tissue and Liver

Biochim Biophys Acta. 1975 Mar 24;380(3):454-72. doi: 10.1016/0005-2760(75)90113-7.


The major objectives of this study were to define the roles of adrenal glucocorticoids and glucagon in the long-term regulation of fatty acid synthetase and acetyl-CoA carboxylase of mammalian adipose tissue and liver. Particular emphasis was given to elucidation of the mechanisms whereby these hormones produce their regulatory effects on enzymatic activity. To dissociate mental manipulation, nutritional conditions were ridgidly controlled in the experiments described. Administration of glucocorticoids to adult rats led to a marked reductionin activities of fatty acid synthetase and carboxylase in adipose in adipose tissue but no change occurred in liver. Adrenalectomy produced an increase in activities of these lipogenic enzymes in adipose tissure, but, again, no change was noted in liver. The decrease in enzymatic activities in adipose tissue with glucocorticoid administration correlated well with a decrease in fatty acid synthesis, determined in vivo by the 3-H2O method. The mechanisms whereby glucocorticoids led to a decrease in fatty acid synthetase activity were elucidated by the use of immunochemical techniques. Thus, the decrease in fatty acid synthetase activity observed in adipose tissue was shown to reflect a decrease in content of enzyme, and not a change in catalytic efficiency. The mechanism underlying the decrease in enzyme content is a decrease in synthesis of the enzyme. The relation of the effects of glucocorticoids to the effects of certain other hormones involved in regulation of lipogenesis was investigated in hypophysectomized and in diabetic animals. Thus, the observation that the glucocorticoid effect on synthetase and carboxylase occurred in adipose tissue of hypophysectomized rats indicated that alterations in levels of other pituitary-regulated hormones were not necessary for the effect. That glucocorticoids play some role in regulation of synthetase and carboxylase in liver, at lease in the diabetic state, was shown by the observation that the low activities of these enzymes in diabetic animals could be restored to normal by adrenalectomy. An even more pronounced restorative effect was apparent in adipose tissue of adrenalectomized, diabetic animals. Administration of glucagon during the refeeding of starved rats resulted in a marked reduction in the induction of fatty acid synthetase, acetyl-CoA carboxylase and in the rate of incorporation of 3-H from 3-H2O into fatty acids in liver, but no change in these parameters occurred in adipose tissue. Administration of theophylline resulted in intermediate reduction in liver. The mechanisms whereby glucagon led tto a decrease in fatty acid synthetase activity were elucidated by the use of immunochemical techniques. Thus, the changes in fatty acid synthetase activity were shown to reflect reductions in content of enzyme. The mechanism underlying these reductions in content is reduced synthesis of enzyme.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acetyl-CoA Carboxylase / metabolism*
  • Adipose Tissue / enzymology*
  • Adrenalectomy
  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus / chemically induced
  • Diabetes Mellitus / enzymology
  • Fatty Acid Synthases / immunology
  • Fatty Acid Synthases / metabolism*
  • Fatty Acids / biosynthesis*
  • Glucagon / pharmacology*
  • Glucocorticoids / pharmacology*
  • Hydrocortisone / pharmacology
  • Hypophysectomy
  • Ligases / metabolism*
  • Liver / enzymology*
  • Male
  • Methylprednisolone / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Streptozocin
  • Theophylline / pharmacology
  • Water / metabolism


  • Fatty Acids
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Water
  • Streptozocin
  • Glucagon
  • Theophylline
  • Fatty Acid Synthases
  • Ligases
  • Acetyl-CoA Carboxylase
  • Hydrocortisone
  • Methylprednisolone