Short-term exposure of isolated rat hepatocytes to short- and medium-chain fatty acids led to an activation of acetyl-CoA carboxylase as measured in digitonin-permeabilized hepatocytes. Up to a certain concentration, typical for each of the fatty acids used, fatty acid-dependent activation of acetyl-CoA carboxylase coincided with an increase in the rate of fatty acid synthesis in intact hepatocytes, as determined by the incorporation of 3H from 3H2O water into fatty acids. At higher concentrations loss of stimulation of fatty acid synthesis occurred, but not the enhancement of carboxylase activity. With the fatty acids tested (C8:0-C14:0), the peak in fatty acid synthesis coincided with a peak in the level of malonyl-CoA. The onset of the stimulation of carboxylase activity coincided with the start of the peak in both fatty acid synthesis and malonyl-CoA. The longer the chain length of the fatty acid added, the lower the concentration at which the rate of fatty acid synthesis and the level of malonyl-CoA reached a peak and carboxylase activity started to become elevated. In cell suspensions incubated with increasing concentrations of fatty acids, accumulation of lactate decreased progressively. The latter observation, in combination with the fact that the activity of acetyl-CoA carboxylase is not always related to the rate of fatty acid biosynthesis, suggests that under these conditions not the activity of the carboxylase but the flux through the glycolytic sequence determines, at least in part, the rate of fatty acid synthesis de novo.
- © 1994 The Biochemical Society, London