Letter | Published:

Ventromedial hypothalamus modulates fat mobilisation during fasting

Naturevolume 274pages900902 (1978) | Download Citation



THE weight of adipose tissue is regulated by both hormonal and neural mechanisms1,2. The sympathetic nerve fibres which innervate adipose tissue3 enhance lipolysis when stimulated4,5. Denervation, on the other hand, slows the rate of fatty acid mobilisation during fasting6,7 and complete exclusion of the sympathetic nervous system is followed by an increase in weight8. The possibility that the medial or lateral hypothalamus (LH) is involved in modulating the sympathetic innervation to fat tissue has been suggested by the discovery that bilateral injury to the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH) attenuated fatty acid mobilisation after stress9. If either of these hypothalamic areas were involved in regulating lipolysis, then unilateral denervation of the abdominal adipose tissue might produce effects qualitatively similar to unilateral hypothalamic injury. We have tested this hypothesis and report here that unilateral abdominal sympathectomy or an ipsilateral ventromedial hypothalamic lesion impairs lipolysis during fasting but that a lateral hypothalamic lesion is without effect.

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  1. Department of Medicine, UCLA School Medicine, Harbor General Hospital Campus, Torrance, California, 90509



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