Leptin directly increases the rate of exogenous glucose and fatty acids oxidation in isolated adipocytes. However, the effects of leptin on fatty acid metabolism in white adipose tIssue have not been examined in detail. Here, we report that in adipocytes incubated for 6 h in the presence of leptin (10 ng/ml), the insulin-stimulated de novo fatty acid synthesis was inhibited by 36% (P<0.05), while the exogenous oxidation of acetic and oleic acids was increased by 50% and 76% respectively. Interestingly, leptin did not alter the oxidation of intracellular fatty acids. Leptin-incubated cells presented a 16-fold increase in the incorporation of oleic acid into triglyceride (TG) and a 123% increase in the intracellular TG hydrolysis (as measured by free fatty acids release). Fatty acid-TG cycling was not affected by leptin. By employing fatty acids radiolabeled with (3)H and (14)C, we could determine the concomitant influx of fatty acids (incorporation of fatty acids into TG) and efflux of fatty acids (intracellular fatty acids oxidation and free fatty acids release) in the incubated cells. Leptin increased by 30% the net efflux of fatty acids from adipocytes. We conclude that leptin directly inhibits de novo synthesis of fatty acids and increases the release and oxidation of fatty acids in isolated rat adipocytes. These direct energy-dissipating effects of leptin may play an important role in reducing accumulation of fatty acids into TG of rat adipose cells.
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