Gender differences in adrenergic regulation of lipid mobilization during exercise.

L. Hellstrom*, E.E. Blaak, E. Hagstrom-Toft

*Corresponding author for this work

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Gender differences in adrenergic regulation of lipid mobilization during exercise.

Hellstrom L, Blaak E, Hagstrom-Toft E.

Department of Medicine, Huddinge Hospital, Karolinska Institute, Sweden.

Gender differences in adrenergic regulation of glycerol levels in subcutaneous, abdominal adipose tissue were investigated during submaximal exercise in non-obese, healthy men and women, using microdialysis. During exercise, glycerol levels in venous plasma and venous serum concentrations of free fatty acids increased more in women and reached about two-fold higher values than in men (p < 0.005 or less). Plasma noradrenaline and insulin did not differ between the sexes, whereas plasma adrenaline was two-fold higher in men than in women during exercise (p < 0.01). The glycerol levels in adipose tissue increased during exercise and decreased in the post-exercise period in either sex. When the non-selective beta adrenoceptor blocking agent propranolol was added to the microdialysis perfusate before exercise was initiated, the subsequent increase in dialysate glycerol was significantly diminished in both sexes (p < 0.05). A similar addition of the alpha adrenoceptor blocking agent phentolamine, however, caused a significant further rise in tissue glycerol in men (p < 0.05), whereas the exercise induced increase in glycerol levels remained unaffected by phentolamine in women. Adipose tissue blood flow did not change during exercise in either men or women. In either sex, dialysate lactate levels increased during exercise. This increase was not altered if alpha- or beta-blocking agents were added to the perfusate. In summary, during short term submaximal work, women have a higher increase in circulating lipid than men. This appears, at least in part, to be due to a sex difference in the adrenergic regulation of lipid mobilization during exercise. In men exercise activates beta- as well as alpha-adrenergic receptors in adipose tissue, whereas only beta receptors are activated in adipose tissue of women. Finally, methodological investigations indicate that microdialysis is a valid method for short-term exercise experiments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-447
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1996

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