Effect of carbohydrate intake on de novo lipogenesis in human adipose tissue

Am J Physiol. 1987 Dec;253(6 Pt 1):E664-9. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.1987.253.6.E664.


Rates of synthesis, from [14C]glucose, of fatty acids (de novo lipogenesis) and glycerol (triglyceride synthesis) were measured in biopsies of adipose tissue from nutritionally depleted patients given low- or high-carbohydrate intravenous nutrition. Simultaneously, energy expenditure and whole-body lipogenesis were measured by indirect calorimetry. Rates of whole-body lipogenesis were zero on the low-carbohydrate diet and averaged 1.6 g.kg-1.day-1 on the high-carbohydrate diet. In vitro rates of triglyceride synthesis increased 3-fold going from the low to the high intake; rates of fatty acid synthesis increased approximately 80-fold. In vitro, lipogenesis accounted for less than 0.1% of triglyceride synthesis on the low intake and 4% on the high intake. On the high-carbohydrate intake, in vitro rates of triglyceride synthesis accounted for 61% of the rates of unidirectional triglyceride synthesis measured by indirect calorimetry. In vitro rates of lipogenesis accounted for 7% of whole-body lipogenesis. Discrepancies between in vitro rates of fatty acid synthesis from glucose, compared with acetate and citrate, as reported by others, suggest that in depleted patients on hypercaloric high-carbohydrate diets, adipose tissue may account for up to 40% of whole-body lipogenesis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Calorimetry
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / metabolism*
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Glycerol / metabolism
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Lipids / biosynthesis*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Disorders / metabolism*
  • Parenteral Nutrition, Total
  • Triglycerides / biosynthesis


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Fatty Acids
  • Lipids
  • Triglycerides
  • Glycerol