Effect of short-term fasting on lipolytic responsiveness in normal and obese human subjects

R. R. Wolfe, E. J. Peters, S. Klein, O. B. Holland, J. Rosenblatt, H. Gary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

149 Scopus citations


In this study the rate of lipolysis (fatty acid and glycerol release into blood) has been quantified in both normal weight and obese volunteers after both 15 and 87 h of fasting. In each study, the basal rate and subsequent response to epinephrine infusion (0.015 μg·kg-1·min-1) were determined. The rate of appearance (R(a)) of free fatty acids (FFA) and glycerol were quantified by infusion of [1-13C]palmitate and D-5-glycerol, respectively. Substrate flux rates per unit of body fat mass and lean body mass were calculated from total body water measurements using H218O dilution. In normal volunteers, the basal R(a) FFA and R(a) glycerol rose markedly with 87 h of fasting, whereas the increases were more modest in the obese subjects. However, the rate of mobilization of fat, in relation to the lean body mass, was higher in the obese subjects than in the normal subjects after 15 h of fasting, and the values were similar in both groups after 87 h of fasting. There was an increased lipolytic response to epinephrine after fasting in both groups. This increased sensitivity may have resulted from the enhancement of fatty acid-triglyceride substrate cycling that occurred after fasting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E189-E196
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number2 (15/2)
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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