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Keywords:

  • lipolysis;
  • isoprenaline;
  • hypothyroidism;
  • hyperthyroidism;
  • microdialysis

Abstract: Thyroid function plays an important role in the regulation of overall metabolic rate and lipid metabolism. However, it is uncertain whether thyroid hormones directly affect lipolysis in adipose tissue and to what extent those changes contribute to overall metabolic phenotype. Our study was designed, using the microdialysis technique, to determine basal and isoprenaline-stimulated local lipolysis and to determine local concentrations of lipolysis-regulating catecholamines in abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue in 12 patients with hypothyroidism, 6 patients with hyperthyroidism, and 12 healthy control subjects. Plasma norepinephrine (NE) concentrations in hypothyroid subjects were significantly higher than in the control and hyperthyroid groups. In contrast, systemic, adipose NE levels in hypothyroid patients were decreased relative to controls. Hyperthyroidism, on the other hand, resulted in four-fold higher adipose NE levels. Basal lipolysis measured by glycerol concentrations in adipose tissue was significantly attenuated in hypothyroid patients and markedly increased in hyperthyroid patients in comparison with the control group. In addition to differences in basal lipolysis, hypothyroidism resulted in attenuated, and hyperthyroidism in enhanced, lipolytic response to local stimulation with β1,2-adrenergic agonist isoprenaline. These results demonstrate that lipolysis in abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue is strongly modulated by thyroid function. We suggest that thyroid hormones regulate lipolysis primarily by affecting local NE concentration and/or adrenergic postreceptor signaling.