This paper discusses aspects of metabolism in adipose tissue of pigs and ruminants. The major homeostatic and homeorhetic endocrine hormones responsible for the regulation of lipogenesis and lipolysis include insulin and the catecholamines. It is argued that a primary action of somatotropin (ST) in reducing body fat and increasing muscle gain is via reducing the actions of insulin. The increased effectiveness of ST in pigs compared to ruminants is related to an inherently lower sensitivity and responsiveness of ruminants to insulin. In contrast, the B agonists produce a much greater response in ruminants and this is related to an increased sensitivity of adipose tissue to catecholamines. The pathways of fat metabolism are described with the aim of examining the possibility of regulating fat partitioning between depots in ruminants. The importance of acetate versus glucose+lactate differs between depots in the ruminant and it is proposed that this might allow for differential control of lipogenesis. In ruminants, diets promoting starch digestion in the small intestine clearly favour glucose as a lipogenic substrate and this may have an impact on the relative growth of different fat depots via the glucose/insulin axis. Chromium supplementation of ruminants consuming a diet low in chromium alters fat metabolism, probably via the glucose/insulin axis
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