lipoprotein lipase activity in adipose tissue and muscle is modulated by changes in the pattern of food intake. we have measured total lipoprotein lipase activity in adipose tissue and muscle of male wistar rats (n = 6-10), weighing 200-250 g (~12 weeks), during the refeeding/fasting state following 24 h of fasting. lipoprotein lipase activity in tissue homogenates was evaluated using a [3h]-triolein-containing substrate, and released [3h]-free fatty acids were extracted and quantified by liquid scintillation. adipose tissue lipoprotein lipase activity did not completely recover within 2 h of refeeding (60% of refed ad libitum values). cardiac lipoprotein lipase activity remained increased even 2 h after refeeding (100% of refed ad libitum values), whereas no significant changes were observed in the soleus and diaphragm muscles. adipose tissue lipoprotein lipase activities were consistently higher than the highest skeletal muscle or heart values. it is therefore likely that adipose tissue, rather than muscle makes the major contribution to triacylglycerol clearance. there was concomitant relatively high lipoprotein lipase activity in both adipose tissue and cardiac muscle during the first few hours of refeeding, therefore cardiac muscle may contribute significantly to triacylglycerol clearance during this period. the results suggest that during fasting, increased lipoprotein lipase activity provides a complementary source of free fatty acids from circulating triacylglycerol, allowing the heart to maintain its continuous, high-energy expenditure.