1. Using microdialysis, we compared lipolysis, as well as the production of lactate, in human adipose tissue and muscle after the ingestion of carbohydrate.

2. The absolute concentrations of glycerol and lactate were measured in subcutaneous adipose tissue, skeletal muscle and arterialized venous blood in eight normal subjects during basal conditions and 4 h after a 75 g oral glucose load. Nutritive blood flow in muscle and adipose tissue was monitored simultaneously with the microdialysis ethanol clearance technique.

3. At baseline, the concentrations of glycerol in adipose tissue and in muscle were about 7 times and about 2.5 times higher respectively than those in plasma. After glucose ingestion, the changes in glycerol concentrations differed significantly between the three compartments (P < 0.0001). In plasma and adipose tissue, the concentrations decreased rapidly and markedly, but returned to baseline levels after 4 h. In muscle, the decrease in glycerol was less pronounced and more protracted.

4. At baseline, the concentrations of lactate in muscle and in adipose tissue were about 3 times and about 1.5 times higher respectively than those in plasma. After the ingestion of glucose, the levels increased transiently in similar ways in muscle, adipose tissue and plasma. The differences in absolute lactate concentrations between the three compartments were maintained after the glucose load (P < 0.001).

5. Adipose tissue blood flow increased transiently after glucose ingestion, whereas muscle blood flow remained unchanged.

6. Both muscle and adipose tissue are a source of glycerol and lactate release during basal conditions and after glucose ingestion. The regulation of lactate production, but not of lipolysis, after carbohydrate ingestion is similar in the two tissues.

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