[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Increased production of hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL) protein has been demonstrated to be the major cause behind enhanced lipolysis in cancer cachexia. The mechanism governing this alteration is unknown and was presently investigated. This study was conducted to detect the expression of relevant receptors in the adipocytes of cancer cachexia patients, and to elucidate their implication in the increased lipolysis. Gene expressions of beta1-adrenoceptor (ADRB1), beta2-adrenoceptor (ADRB2), beta3-adrenoceptor (ADRB3), alpha2C-adrenoceptor (ADRA2C), natriuretic peptide receptor A (NPRA), insulin receptor (INSR), and HSL were determined in adipose tissues of 34 patients by real-time PCR. Protein levels of ADRB1 and HSL were determined by western blot analysis. beta1-Adrenoceptor (ADRB1) was also detected by immunofluorescence staining. mRNA expressions of both ADRB1 and HSL were approximately 50% elevated selectively in the cachexia group, whereas mRNA levels of the other receptors were unchanged. beta1-Adrenoceptor (ADRB1) protein expression was 1.5-fold increased in cachexia as compared with the cancer controls, and 3-fold increased as compared with nonmalignant controls, and was confirmed as a membrane protein in adipocytes by immunofluorescence. Hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL) protein expression was 2-2.5-fold increased selectively in cachectic patients. There was a positive correlation between the protein expressions of ADRB1 and HSL. As much as approximately 50% of the variations in HSL protein expression could be explained by variations in ADRB1 protein expression. There was a link between ADRB1 protein level and lipolytic rate. Increased ADRB1 expression may account for some of the functional changes of HSL in patients with cancer cachexia.