Interventions against obesity through increased lipolysis in adipose tissue

  • Dawn K. Richardson

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Obesity is a disease of excess adiposity affecting> 17% of men and >20% of women in Britain. Clinically, it is defined by a Body Mass Index (BMI, kg/m2) of 2:30. Obesity is a confounding factor that promotes insulin resistance, hyperinsulinaemia and type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes accounts for >90% of all cases of diabetes, with a prevalence of 2-6% of adults in most western societies, a majority of which are overweight or obese. Weight loss in obese patients reduces the risk of developing diabetes by >50%. This thesis has investigated the first part of a two-stage therapeutic intervention against obesity in which adipose tissue lipolysis will be combined with increased energy expenditure: the approach is also designed to consider agents that will benefit glycaemic control in coexistent obesity and diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity.
Rodent and human in vitro models of adipocyte biology and skeletal muscle have been developed, characterised and evaluated. They include isolated epididymal and parametrial adipocytes of lean and obese diabetic ob/ob mice, cultured 3T3-Ll preadipocytes, isolated human omental and subcutaneous adipocytes and rat L6 cultured muscle cells. Compounds investigated for anti-obesity and anti-diabetic properties include M2 (sibutramine metabolite), 3-guanidinopropionic acid and mazindol. In vivo studies were undertaken to investigate these compounds further in lean and ob/ob mice.
In vivo studies indicated that M2 and 3-guanidinopropionic acid reduced body weight gain in ob/ob mice. The three compounds increased lipolysis in adipocytes isolated from lean and ob/ob mice and human adipose depots. The direct action of these compounds was mediated via a pathway involving the f3 adrenoceptors and components of the lipolytic signalling pathway, including protein kinase A and p38 MAP kinase. In addition, M2 and mazindol were capable of increasing glucose uptake into insulin sensitive tissues. M2 and mazindol can act directly on adipose tissue and skeletal muscle to increase glucose uptake via a pathway involving new protein synthesis and activation of the glucose transporters. The M2-stimulated pathway is activated by the conversion of phosphatidylinositol bisphosphate to phosphatidylinositol trisphosphate by phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase. Thus, M2, mazindol and 3-GPA showed pharmacodynamic properties which suggested they might be potential therapeutic treatments for obesity and diabetes.
Date of AwardSept 2002
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorClifford Bailey (Supervisor)


  • diabetes mellitus
  • insulin resistance
  • adipocytes
  • glucose uptake
  • L6 skeletal muscle cells

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