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Cecilia Holm

Research team manager

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Hormone-sensitive lipase in skeletal muscle: regulatory mechanisms.


  • J. Langfort
  • M. Donsmark
  • T. Ploug
  • Cecilia Holm
  • H. Galbo

Summary, in English

AIM: The enzymatic regulation of intramuscular triacylglycerol (TG) breakdown has until recently not been well understood. Our aim was to elucidate the role of hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL), which controls TG breakdown in adipose tissue. METHODS: Isolated rat muscle as well as exercising humans were studied. RESULTS: The presence of HSL was demonstrated in all muscle fibre types by Western blotting of muscle fibres isolated by collagenase treatment or after freeze-drying. The content of HSL varies between fibre types, being higher in oxidative than in glycolytic fibres. Analysed under conditions optimal for HSL, neutral lipase activity in muscle can be stimulated by adrenaline as well as by contractions. These increases are abolished by presence of anti-HSL antibody during analysis. Moreover, immunoprecipitation with affinity-purified anti-HSL antibody causes similar reductions in muscle HSL protein concentration and in measured neutral lipase responses to contractions. The immunoreactive HSL in muscle is stimulated by adrenaline via beta-adrenergic activation of protein kinase A (PKA). From findings in adipocytes it is likely that PKA phosphorylates HSL at residues Ser563, Ser659 and Ser660. Contraction probably also enhances muscle-HSL activity by phosphorylation, because the contraction-induced increase in HSL activity is increased by the protein phosphatase inhibitor okadaic acid and reversed by alkaline phosphatase. A novel signalling pathway in muscle by which HSL activity may be stimulated by protein kinase C (PKC) via extracellular signal regulated kinase (ERK) has been demonstrated. In contrast to previous findings in adipocytes, in muscle activation of ERK is not necessary for stimulation of HSL by adrenaline. However, contraction-induced HSL activation is mediated by PKC, at least partly via the ERK pathway. In fat cells ERK is known to phosphorylate HSL at Ser600. So, phosphorylation of different sites may explain that in muscle the effects of contractions and adrenaline on HSL activity are partially additive. In line with the view that the two stimuli act by different mechanisms, training increases the contraction-mediated, but diminishes the adrenaline mediated HSL activation in muscle. CONCLUSION: The existence and regulation of HSL in skeletal muscle indicate a role of HSL in muscle TG metabolism.


  • Molecular Endocrinology

Publishing year







Acta Physiologica Scandinavica





Document type

Journal article




  • Basic Medicine



Research group

  • Molecular Endocrinology


  • ISSN: 0001-6772