The effects of dexamethasone (dex) on newly differentiated adipocytes in primary culture derived from mesenteric, retroperitoneal, epididymal, and inguinal subcutaneous adipose tissues of male rats were studied. The degree of differentiation was similar in these adipose precursor cells derived from different regions as assessed by lipoprotein lipase (LPL) activity, an early marker of adipocyte differentiation. LPL activity was increased by addition of dex, and no differences in degree of activation were observed in cells from different adipose tissue regions. Development of both basal and isoproterenol-stimulated lipolysis was also similar in adipose precursor cells from different adipose tissue regions. Dex addition enhanced the isoproterenol-stimulated lipolysis with no regional differences. Studies of binding of [3H]-dex showed no regional differences in either binding affinity or maximal binding capacity.

It is concluded that dex stimulates both LPL activity and lipolytic activity in newly differentiated rat adipocytes in primary culture. This seems, however, not to vary in magnitude in cells obtained from different adipose tissue regions. This might be due to the apparent similarity of number and affinity of glucocorticoid binding sites. Regional variations in glucocorticoid regulated LPL and lipolytic activity in adipose tissue might therefore not be due to inherent differences between adipocytes.