1. Human hepatic lipase activities were studied in needle biopsy specimens by fluorogenic and radioisotopic assay methods. Using analytical subcellular fractionation by sucrose density gradient centrifugation a lysosomal acid lipase, with pH optimum of 4.0, and an endoplasmic reticulum alkaline lipase, with pH optimum of 8.5, were demonstrated with the fluorogenic assay.
2. The apparent Km of the acid lipase was 17 μmol/l by the fluorogenic method and 23 mmol/l by the radioisotopic method. The values for alkaline lipase were 94 μmol/l and 1.4 mmol/l respectively.
3. Assay of these activities in biopsies from 16 control subjects and 42 chronic alcoholics showed increasing activity with increasing hepatic fatty infiltration when the fluorogenic assay was used: no differences were demonstrated with radioisotopic assay. These results suggest that depressed lipolysis due to a relative deficiency of triglyceride lipase is not a causal factor in triglyceride accumulation in chronic alcoholic fatty liver.