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Lipids. 2003 Feb;38(2):179-86.

Natural abundance stable carbon isotope evidence for the routing and de novo synthesis of bone FA and cholesterol.

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  • 1Organic Geochemistry Unit, Biogeochemistry Research Centre, School of Chemistry, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1TS, United Kingdom.


This research reported in this paper investigated the relationship between diet and bone FA and cholesterol in rats raised on a variety of isotopically controlled diets comprising 20% C3 or C4 protein (casein) and C3 and/or C4 nonprotein or energy (sucrose, starch, and oil) macronutrients. Compound-specific stable carbon isotope analysis (delta13C) was performed on the FA (16:0, 18:0, 18:1, and 18:2) and cholesterol isolated from the diet (n = 4) and bone (n = 8) of these animals. The dietary signals reflected by the bone lipids were investigated using linear regression analysis. delta13C values of bone cholesterol and stearic (18:0) acid were shown to reflect whole-diet delta13C values, whereas the delta13C values of bone palmitic (16:0), oleic (18:1), and linoleic (18:2) acids reflected dietary FA delta13C values. Dietary signal differences are a result of the balance between direct incorporation (or routing) and de novo synthesis of each of these bone lipids. Estimates of the degree of routing of these bone lipids gleaned from correlations between delta13C(dlipid-wdiet) (= delta13C(diet lipid) - delta13C(whole diet)) spacings and delta13C(blipid-wdiet) (= delta13C(bone lipid) - delta13C(whole diet)) fractionations demonstrated that the extent of routing, where 18:2 > 16:0 > 18:1 > 18:0 > cholesterol, reflected the relative abundances of these lipids in the diet. These findings provide the basis for more accurate insights into diet when the delta13C analysis of bone fatty FA or cholesterol is employed.

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