Research Article| Volume 37, ISSUE 2, P290-298, February 1996

Differential mobilization of fatty acids from adipose tissue

Open AccessPublished:February 01, 1996DOI:
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      Are the different fatty acids mobilized into plasma in proportion to their concentrations in adipose tissue triglyceride? To answer this question, we fed weaning rabbits a special diet to label the fat stores with a variety of dietary fatty acids. The release of adipose tissue fatty acids into the plasma was then induced by ACTH-stimulated lipolysis. The compositions of the resulting plasma free fatty acids and of the adipose tissue triglyceride were then compared. Plasma free fatty acids increased from 625 mumol/L at baseline to 2938 mumol/L after ACTH and represented fatty acids released from adipose tissue. The relative mobilization of these fatty acids from adipose tissue was defined as the ratio between their percentage in the plasma free fatty acid fraction to their percentage in adipose tissue triglyceride. For the 24 fatty acids examined, the relative mobilization ranged from 0.11 for 22:1 n-11 to 5.06 for 20:5 n-3, a 46-fold difference. Relative mobilization correlated positively with unsaturation and negatively with chain length. The relative mobilization for essential fatty acids was in the order of 20:5 n-3 > 20:4 n-6 > 18:3 n-3 > 22:6 n-3 > 18:2 n-6. Saturated fatty acids, along with oleic acid, were much less well mobilized than the entire group of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Our data indicate that the mobilization of fatty acids into plasma was not proportional to their content in adipose tissue, but rather was influenced by their molecular structure. Eicosapentaenoic acid 20:5 n-3 (EPA), and arachidonic acid 20:4 n-6, precursors of two different prostaglandins, were the fatty acids with the highest mobilization into the plasma.


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