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Lipids. 2011 Jul;46(7):647-57. doi: 10.1007/s11745-011-3569-6. Epub 2011 May 26.

Vaccenic and elaidic acid equally esterify into triacylglycerols, but differently into phospholipids of fed rat liver cells.

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  • 1Faculté des Sciences Gabriel, UMR 866, INSERM-UB, 21000, Dijon, France.


Elaidic acid (trans-9-C₁₈:₁ or trans-9) is assumed to exert atherogenic effects due to its double bond configuration. The possibility that trans-9 and vaccenic acid (trans-11-C₁₈:₁ or trans-11), its positional isomer, were biochemically equivalent and interchangeable compounds, was investigated by reference to their cis-isomers through esterification-related activities using rat liver cells and subcellular fractions. In hepatocytes, both trans-C₁₈:₁ were incorporated to the same extent in triacylglycerols, but trans-9 was more esterified than trans-11 into phospholipids (P < 0.05). Glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase activity in microsomes was lower with trans-11 than with trans-9, while this activity in mitochondria was ~40% greater with trans-11 than with trans-9 (P < 0.05). Activity of 2-lysophosphatidic acid acyltransferase in microsomes was of comparable extent with both trans isomers, but activity of 2-lysophosphatidylcholine acyltransferase was significantly greater with trans-9 than with trans-11 at P < 0.01. Lipoproteins secreted by hepatocytes reached equivalent levels in the presence of any isomers, but triacylglycerol production was more elevated with trans-11 than with trans-9 at P < 0.05. Cholesterol efflux from previously labelled hepatocytes was lower with trans-11 than with trans-9. When these cells were exposed to either trans-C₁₈:₁, the gene expression of proteins involved in fatty acid esterification and lipoprotein synthesis was unaffected, which indicates that the biochemical differences essentially depended on enzyme/substrate affinities. On the whole, vaccenic and elaidic acid were shown to incorporate cell phospholipids unequally, at least in vitro, which suggests they can differently affect lipid metabolic pathways in normal cells.

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