Take the 2-minute tour ×
Biology Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for biology researchers, academics, and students. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Since adipocytes export fatty acids and don't use them as an energy source, which is the main source of energy for this cells?

share|improve this question

1 Answer 1

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Adipocytes use glucose as an energy source. They express the insulin-responsive glucose transporter GLUT4 just like muscle cells so that when blood glucose levels rise they are primed to take the glucose up for fatty acid biosynthesis, but they also use glucose as a fuel molecule.

share|improve this answer
Thank you! And in the fasting state, which fuel they use? Glucose too? –  user5354 Jan 10 '14 at 18:31
In the fasting state blood glucose levels will be maintained by the liver via gluconeogenesis, so yes. During fasting the main function of the adipocytes is fat mobilisation and release of fatty acids (and glycerol, used by the liver as a substrate for gluconeogenesis). –  Alan Boyd Jan 11 '14 at 13:47
But if adipocyte's GLUT4 recepetors are not being stimulated by insulin in the fasting state, how can they uptake glucose? Does hydrolysis of the ester link between a fatty acid and the glycerol releases energy? –  user5354 Jan 11 '14 at 20:43

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.