Sex-specific differences in leg fat uptake are revealed with a high-fat meal

Susanne B. Votruba, Michael D. Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


The mechanism(s) by which sex specific differences in regional body fat distribution develop are not known. We assessed the effects of a high-fat (HF) meal on fatty acid oxidation and uptake into regional fat depots using isotopic tracers and adipose biopsies. Thirty men (BMI 23.6 ± 0.3 kg/m 2) and 29 women (BMI 22.4 ± 0.3 kg/m2) received a meal containing [3H]triolein. Twelve of the men and 13 of the women received an additional 80 g of triolein in the meal (HF) and the remainder received a normal-fat (NF) meal. Adipose tissue lipoprotein lipase (LPL) activity was measured in the fed and fasted state. After 24 h, meal fatty acid uptake into subcutaneous adipose tissue was assessed. The efficiency of meal fat uptake into upper body subcutaneous fat was similar in both sexes, but women had a greater leg fat uptake, especially in response to a HF meal (P < 0.0001). A correlation between fed-state LPL activity and meal fat uptake was found in both upper and lower body fat (P < 0.0001, r = 0.69). These studies show that, in times of net fat storage, women preferentially increase uptake in leg adipose tissue, and this is likely mediated by fed-state LPL activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1115-E1123
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2006


  • Fat biopsies
  • Isotopic fat tracers
  • Lipoprotein lipase
  • Triolein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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