Effects of estrogen on free fatty acid metabolism in humans

M. D. Jensen, M. L. Martin, P. E. Cryer, L. R. Roust

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


To determine whether estrogen directly affects effective adipose lipolysis, palmitate rate of appearances ([14C]palmitate) was measured in 15 postmenopausal women. Each volunteer was studied after ≥ 2 mo of estrogen treatment and again after ≥ 2 mo of estrogen deficiency. Plasma hormone concentrations were controlled and identical on the 2 study days with use of the pancreatic clamp technique, and the lipolytic response to epinephrine and epinephrine + phentolamine was assessed. Results showed that overall palmitate flux was greater (10-20%, P < 0.05) during the estrogen-deficient than during the estrogen-replete study. Adrenergic stimulation of lipolysis was not specifically influenced by estrogen treatment, and control of plasma hormone concentrations did not eliminate the difference in palmitate flux between the estrogen-deficient and estrogen-replete study days. We conclude that estrogen deficiency is associated with increased plasma free fatty acid availability and that estrogen likely has direct, albeit small, effects on adipose tissue lipolysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E914-E920
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number6 29-6
StatePublished - 1994


  • epinephrine
  • insulin
  • isotope dilution
  • phentolamine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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