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Biochem Med Metab Biol. 1988 Oct;40(2):133-42.

Sodium benzoate inhibits fatty acid oxidation in rat liver: effect on ammonia levels.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Nassau County Medical Center, New York.


Sodium benzoate inhibited PC and octanoic acid-mediated State 3 respiration rates by 39 and 29%, respectively, at 0.5 mM in isolated rat liver mitochondria. At 2 mM, benzoate did not affect State 3 respiration rates with either succinate or malate plus glutamate, indicating that it did not act as an uncoupler. The oxidation of palmitate and octanoate was inhibited by 39 and 54% at 2 mM benzoate in liver homogenates. Benzoate, at 10 mmol/kg caused significant decreases in the levels of hepatic ATP, CoA, and acetyl-CoA. Administration of sodium benzoate to rats caused a dose-dependent increase in hepatic ammonia levels. However, the inhibitory effect of benzoate on fatty acid oxidation is not mediated through ammonia since ammonium chloride, at 1 mM, did not inhibit PC or octanoate oxidation in mitochondria or their oxidation in liver homogenate. Our results warrant a reevaluation of the use of sodium benzoate in the treatment of hyperammonemia.

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