Inhibitors of lipolysis in tumor-induced cachexia

  • Carolyn L. Adamson

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The MAC16 tumour produces a factor which exhibits lipid-mobilizing activity in vitro in addition to causing extensive depletion of host lipid stores. The mechanism of the anti-lipolytic effect of two anti-cachectic agents, eicosapentaenoic acid, an ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA), and N-(3-phenoxycinnamyl)acetohydroxamic acid (BW A4C), a 5-lipoxygenase inhibitor, has been investigated. These two agents reduce tumour growth and reverse the weight loss which accompanies transplantation of the MAC16 murine colon adenocarcinoma into NMRI mice.
Mice transplanted with the MAC16 tumour exhibited weight loss which was directly proportional to the serum lipolytic activity measured in vitro up to a weight loss corresponding to 16% of the original body weight. After this time, an inverse relationship between weight loss and lipolytic activity was observed. Body composition analysis revealed a large decrease in body fat relative to other body compartments.
The anti-tumour/anti-cachectic effect of EPA did not appear to be due to its ability to inhibit the production of prostaglandin E2.
The MAC16 lipolytic factor increased adenylate cyclase activity in adipocyte plasma membranes in a concentration-dependent manner. EPA inhibited the production of cAMP attributed to this lipid-mobilizing factor.
EPA produced alterations in Gi , the guanine nucleotide binding protein which mediates hormonal inhibition of adenylate cyclase, in addition to altering cAMP production in adipocyte plasma membranes in response to hormonal stimulation. The alterations in adenylate cyclase activity were complex and not specific to EPA. EPA stimulated adenylate cyclase activity when in a relatively high fatty acid : membrane ratio and inhibited activity when this ratio was lowered. The inhibitory effect of EPA on adenylate cyclase activity may be the underlying mechanism which explains its anti-lipolytic and anti-cachectic effect. The inability of the related ω-3 PUFA, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), to inhibit cachexia may be due to a difference in the metabolic fates of these two fatty acids.
BW A4C inhibited lipolysis in isolated adipocytes which suggests that this compound may possess the potential for an anti-cachectic effect which is independent of its inhibitory effect on tumour growth.
Date of AwardDec 1992
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorMichael J Tisdale (Supervisor)


  • adenylate cyclase
  • BW A4Ctumor-induced cachexia
  • cancer cachexia
  • G-proteins
  • eicosapentaenoic acid
  • lipolytic factor

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