Pregnancy is characterized by changes in maternal adiposity. The aim of this study was to carry out a detailed analysis of the different steps of the adrenergic pathway, lipoprotein lipase (LPL) levels and adipocyte size, in order to evaluate the response of white adipose tissue (WAT) to the metabolic changes during pregnancy depending on the anatomical location. In general, the levels of the proteins of the lipolytic pathway decreased with pregnancy. In retroperitoneal WAT adenylate cyclase (AC) levels decreased from 100% in controls to 44% by day 13 and 11% by day 20. In mesenteric WAT the α 2A3-adrenergic receptor balance seemed to be one of the main regulatory points of the lipolytic pathway and the reduction in the postreceptor element levels was clearly lower than for the other two depots (PKA levels reduced from 100% in controls to 72% by day 20, while in the other two depots it decreased to 30%, and AC and HSL levels did not show statistically significant changes in this depot). In contrast, the LPL-to-HSL ratio may be a major regulatory point in gonadal WAT. In summary, we describe regional differences in the regulation of WAT metabolism throughout pregnancy, which may be of great importance to determine the role of the different fat depots during late pregnancy. Thus, gonadal and mesenteric WAT changed to a lipolytic state to sustain the rapid foetal growth, although with differences between them in the main regulatory points, while retroperitoneal WAT could have a role later on, during lactation.

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