Adrenergic regulation of human adipose tissue metabolism in situ during mental stress

E Hagström-Toft, P Arner, H Wahrenberg, A Wennlund, U Ungerstedt, J Bolinder
Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 1993, 76 (2): 392-8
The adrenergic regulation of adipose tissue lipolysis and glucose metabolism was investigated in situ during a standardized mental stress test in 11 nonobese, healthy subjects, using microdialysis of the extracellular water space in sc adipose tissue. Microdialysis probes were inserted in the abdominal sc fat, and were perfused using solvents with or without adrenoceptor blocking agents. The tissue dialysate concentrations of glycerol (lipolysis index) glucose, lactate, and pyruvate were determined. The glycerol concentration in adipose tissue increased markedly during the stress test and decreased in the poststress period. A similar kinetic pattern was observed in blood. In situ administration of the nonselective beta-adrenoceptor blocking agent propranolol almost completely prevented the stress-induced increase in adipose tissue glycerol levels, whereas a nonselective alpha-adrenoceptor blocking agent (phentolamine) was ineffective in this respect. Plasma levels of glucose and lactate remained unaltered during and after the stress test; at the same time plasma pyruvate decreased moderately. By contrast, glucose, lactate, and pyruvate in adipose tissue increased by 25-30% during or after the stress (P < 0.05). The increase in lactate and pyruvate in adipose tissue after the stress was completely off-set by alpha-adrenoceptor blockade in situ, whereas beta-adrenoceptor blockade in situ did not influence the kinetic pattern of these metabolites. It is concluded that the lipolytic activity in human adipose tissue is markedly enhanced during mental stress, owing to adrenergic mechanisms that are mediated via beta-adrenoceptors. After mental stress, adipose tissue glucose utilization is decreased and routed toward nonoxidative pathways. The latter seems to involve adrenergic effects that are mediated via alpha-adrenoceptors.

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