Scope: During aging, increased visceral adipose tissue (AT) mass may result in impaired metabolic status. A citrulline (CIT)-supplemented diet reduces AT mass in old rats. We hypothesized that CIT could directly affect fatty acid (FA) metabolism in retroperitoneal AT.
Methods and results: A 24-h exposure of AT explants from old (25 months) rats to 2.5 mM CIT induced a 50% rise in glycerol and FA release, which was not observed in explants from young (2 months) animals. The phosphorylated form of hormone-sensitive lipase, a key lipolytic enzyme, was 1.5-fold higher in CIT-treated explants from old and young rats, whereas glyceroneogenesis, that provides glycerol-3P requested for FA re-esterification, and its key enzyme phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase, were down-regulated 40-70%. Specifically in young rats, beta-oxidation capacity and gene expressions of carnitine palmitoyl transferase 1-b and very long chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase were strongly up-regulated by CIT. In contrast, in old rats, while glyceroneogenesis was lower, beta-oxidation was not affected, enabling increased FA release.
Conclusion: Hence, in visceral AT, CIT exerts a specific induction of the beta-oxidation capacity in young rats and a selective stimulation of FA release in old rats, therefore providing a direct mechanism of CIT action to reduce AT mass.
Keywords: Adipose tissue; Aging; Citrulline; Fatty acids; Glyceroneogenesis.
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