Research Article| Volume 48, ISSUE 4, P472-476, April 1999

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Effects of hypoosmolality on whole-body lipolysis in man

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      Changes in extracellular osmolality, and thus in the cellular hydration state, appear to directly influence cell metabolism. The metabolic changes associated with cell swelling are inhibition of glycogenolysis, glycolysis, and proteolysis. Recent studies in our laboratory demonstrated diminished whole-body protein breakdown in humans during an acute hypoosmolar state. Because of the close interrelationship between carbohydrate and fat metabolism, we speculated that adipose tissue lipolysis and fatty acid oxidation are regulated by changes in extracellular osmolality. Therefore, we investigated the effect of artificially induced hypoosmolality on whole-body lipolysis and fat oxidation in seven healthy young men. Hypoosmolality was induced by intravenous administration of desmopressin, liberal ingestion of water, and infusion of hypotonic (0.45%) saline solution. Lipolysis was assessed by a stable-isotope method (2-[13C]-glycerol infusion). The glycerol rate of appearance (Ra), reflecting whole-body lipolysis, was higher under hypoosmolar compared with isoosmolar conditions (2.35 ± 0.40 v 1.68 ± 0.21 μmol/kg/min, P = .03). This was even more pronounced when lipolysis was suppressed during hyperinsulinemia and euglycemic clamping (0.90 ± 0.08 v 0.61 ± 0.03 μmol/kg/min, P = .002). However, plasma free fatty acid (FFA), glycerol, ketone body, insulin, and glucagon concentrations and carbohydrate and lipid oxidation measured by indirect calorimetry were not significantly altered by hypoosmolality. Plasma norepinephrine concentrations were lower under hypoosmolar conditions (P < .01 v control). In conclusion, hypoosmolality in vivo results in increased whole-body lipolysis, which is not due to changes in major lipolysis regulating hormones.
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