Sex differences in abdominal, gluteal, and thigh LPL activity

Susanne B. Votruba, Michael D. Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Lipoprotein lipase (LPL) activity is necessary for adipocytes to take up triglycerides from the circulation, and regional differences in LPL activity could help determine regional fat storage. LPL activity has been reported to increase as a function of fat cell size, but this issue has not been extensively evaluated in different depots comparing sexes. Our objective was to determine whether sex alters the relationship between LPL activity and fat cell size. Subcutaneous adipose tissue biopsies were taken from the abdomen and thigh after an overnight fast and 1 h after a meal in 65 females (BMI 25.4 ± 0.8, means ± SE) and 41 males (BMI 23.7 ± 0.3); gluteal adipose samples were obtained in 47 of the females and 27 of the males. Fat cell size was greater in females than males in thigh (P < 0.005) and gluteal (P < 0.05) regions but not in the abdomen. There was a relationship between fasting LPL activity/ fat cell and fat cell size in females (abdomen r2 = 0.52, P < 0.0001; gluteal r2 = 0.23, P < 0.005; thigh r2 = 0.19, P < 0.005). In males, this relationship was seen only in the abdomen (r2 = 0.51, P < 0.0001) and thigh (r2 = 0.17, P < 0.05). Males and females had a significantly different relationship in the thigh only in the fasted state. Similar results were found in the fed state, although the strength of the relationship decreased in the abdominal regions for females only. This suggests fundamental differences in the regulation of triglyceride uptake between males and females and adipose regions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1823-E1828
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2007


  • Adipose tissue biopsies
  • Body fat distribution
  • Lipoprotein lipase
  • Postprandial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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