Short-Chain Fatty Acids Differentially Affect Intracellular Lipolysis in a Human White Adipocyte Model

Johan W. E. Jocken, Manuel A. Gonzalez Hernandez, Nicole T. H. Hoebers, Christina M. van der Beek, Yvonne P. G. Essers, Ellen E. Blaak, Emanuel E. Canfora*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background and aims: Gut derived short-chain fatty acids (SOFA), formed by microbial fermentation of dietary fibers, are believed to be involved in the etiology of obesity and diabetes. Previous data from our group showed that colonic infusions of physiologically relevant SOFA mixtures attenuated whole-body lipolysis in overweight men. To further study potential mechanisms involved in the antilipolytic properties of SOFA, we aimed to investigate the in vitro effects of SOFA incubations on intracellular lipolysis and signaling using a human white adipocyte model, the human multipotent adipose tissue-derived stem (hMADS) cells. Methods: hMADS adipocytes were incubated with mixtures of acetate, propionate, and butyrate or single SOFA (acetate, propionate and butyrate) in concentrations ranging between 1 mu mol/L and 1 mmol/L. Glycerol release and lipase activation was investigated during basal conditions and following p-adrenergic stimulation. Results: SOFA mixtures high in acetate and propionate decreased basal glycerol release, when compared to control (P < 0.05), while mixtures high in butyrate had no effect. Also, p-adrenergic receptor mediated glycerol release was not significantly altered following incubation with SOFA mixtures. Incubation with only acetate decreased basal (1 mu mol/L) and p-adrenergically (1 mmol/L and 1 mmol/L) mediated glycerol release when compared with control (P < 0.05). In contrast, butyrate (1 mu mol/L) slightly increased basal and p-adrenergically mediated glycerol release compared with control (P < 0.05), while propionate had no effect on lipolysis. The antilipolytic effect of acetate was accompanied by a reduced phosphorylation of hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL) at serine residue 650. In addition, inhibition of Gi G proteins following pertussis toxin treatment prevented the antilipolytic effect of acetate. Conclusion: The present data demonstrated that acetate was mainly responsible for the antilipolytic effects of SOFA and acts via attenuation of HSL phosphorylation in a Gi coupled manner in hMADS adipocytes. Therefore, the modulation of colonic and circulating acetate may be an important target to modulate human adipose tissue lipid metabolism.
Original languageEnglish
Article number372
Number of pages9
JournalFrontiers in Endocrinology
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2018


  • acetate
  • gut microbiota
  • adipose tissue
  • obesity
  • fat metabolism
  • hormone-sensitive lipase
  • GUT


Dive into the research topics of 'Short-Chain Fatty Acids Differentially Affect Intracellular Lipolysis in a Human White Adipocyte Model'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this