Release of individual fatty acids from human adipose tissue in vivo after an overnight fast

Katherine J. Halliwell, Barbara A. Fielding, Jaswinder S. Samra, Sandy M. Humphreys, Keith N. Frayn*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)


The objective of this study was to investigate the mobilization of individual fatty acids from human subcutaneous adipose tissue in vivo. Concentrations of individual non-esterified fatty acids were measured in arterialized plasma and in the venous drainage from subcutaneous abdominal adipose tissue in eight normal subjects, after an overnight fast, and for the subsequent 6 h. Whilst the veno-arterial concentration difference for non- esterified fatty acids increased over this period, the relative proportions of different fatty acids remained constant. There was a close relationship between veno-arterial difference and arterialized concentration for the different fatty acids. The arterialized concentration of stearic acid consistently lay above the regression line drawn for unsaturated fatty acids (P=0.001), probably reflecting lower clearance of stearic acid. The release of individual fatty acids was compared with their prevalence in adipose tissue triacyglycerol in biopsies taken from six subjects. Relative release decreased with increasing chain length, and for a given chain length increased with increasing unsaturation, in agreement with animal studies (P<0.001 for differences in relative mobilization according to these two factors). The results suggest that the systematic plasma concentration of individual non-esterified fatty acids is determined by their release from adipose tissue, but that the relationship between release and systemic concentration for stearic acid is different from that for other fatty acids. The results confirm, in humans, differences in relative mobilization found previously in animal studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1842-1848
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Lipid Research
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1996


  • adipose tissue triacylglycerol
  • fat mobilization
  • fatty acid clearance
  • stearic acid

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Release of individual fatty acids from human adipose tissue in vivo after an overnight fast'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this