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J Lipid Res. 1995 Jan;36(1):13-24.

Palmitic acid and linoleic acid metabolism in Caco-2 cells: different triglyceride synthesis and lipoprotein secretion.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.


Polarized monolayers of intestinal Caco-2 cells were used to study the effects of saturated palmitic acid (16:0) and polyunsaturated linoleic acid (18:2) on triglyceride synthesis and lipoprotein secretion. Monolayers were incubated for 24 h, at the apical or lumenal side, with palmitic acid (16:0) or linoleic acid (18:2) in physiological concentrations. Incubation with 1.0 mM 16:0 or 18:2 resulted in differences in the composition and amount of secreted lipoproteins. Radiolabeled lipids in the lipoproteins secreted during incubation with 18:2 were found in the chylomicron/VLDL (very low density lipoprotein) density whereas with 16:0 the secreted lipoproteins were in the intermediate density/low density lipoprotein (IDL/LDL) density range. More triglyceride was secreted into the (basolateral) medium during incubation with 1.0 mM 18:2 (41 +/- 12% of total triglyceride synthesized) than with 1.0 mM 16:0 (18 +/- 3% of total). The biochemical findings correlate with conspicuous morphological changes in the cells in the presence of 16:0, but not 18:2. Increasing concentrations of 16:0 (0.1-1.0 mM) caused gradual accumulation of intracellular membrane. Microvilli became strongly reduced in number. With 1.0 mM palmitic acid we found an increased incorporation of [1-14C]palmitic acid into phosphatidic acid (14.8% of total incorporation into phospholipid with 16:0 vs. < 0.5% with 18:2) and diacylglycerol (12.5% with 16:0 vs. < 0.5% with 18:2) and diacylglycerol (12.5% with 16:0 vs. 0.5% with 18:2) and the amount of intracellular phospholipid doubled. The morphological changes were completely reversed after 24 h with 1.0 mM 18:2. We conclude from our results that, compared to 18:2, 16:0 is not efficiently incorporated into triglycerides. 16:0 is incorporated into cellular phospholipids in a greater proportion than 18:2, causing accumulation of intracellular phospholipid and the precursors phosphatidic acid and diacylglycerol. Different processing of 18:2 and 16:0 by Caco-2 cells resulted in profound differences in triglyceride synthesis and lipoprotein composition and secretion.

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