The insulin-stimulated conversion of glucose to fatty acids (fatty acid synthesis) and the maximally norepinephrine-stimulated lipolysis were studied in isolated fat cells from normal male and female rats, ovariectomized rats and sexual hormone-treated normal and ovariectomized rats. The fatty acid synthesis and the lipolysis oscillated considerably more in fat cells from female rats than in fat cells from male rats. This was found to be due to the oestrous cycle, since the fatty acid synthesis was high in prooestrus and low in both oestrus and dioestrus, while the lipolysis was higher in oestrus and prooestrus than in dioestrus. Oestradiol treatment of both female and male rats and testosterone treatment of male rats for three days lowered the fatty acid synthesis and increased the lipolysis. The metabolic oscillation disappeared in ovariectomized rats, and the fat cells from these animals showed a metabolic pattern comparable with that found in prooestrus. Even when ovariectomized rats were treated with oestradiol or progesterone only three hours before the examination a significant lower fatty acid synthesis was found in oestradiol-treated animals compared with the progesterone-treated animals. Since these rats were fasted three hours before the experiments, the results were not due to differences in food intake. It is concluded that fat cell metabolism is influenced by sexual hormones. The results are compatible with the hypothesis that the variation in food intake due to sexual hormones is secondary to the metabolic changes.
Acta Endocrinologica, 1980, Vol 95, Issue 4, p. 566-70