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Biol Cell. 2000 Aug;92(5):317-29.

Proliferation of mitochondria and gene expression of carnitine palmitoyltransferase and fatty acyl-CoA oxidase in rat skeletal muscle, heart and liver by hypolipidemic fatty acids.

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Department of Zoology, University of Bergen, Norway.


Morphological and biochemical effects were induced at the subcellular level in the skeletal muscle, heart and liver of male rats as a result of feeding with EPA, DHA, and 3-thia fatty acids. The 3-thia fatty acid, tetradecylthioacetic acid (TTA) and EPA induced mitochondrial growth in type I muscle fibers in both the diaphragm and soleus muscle, and the size distribution of mitochondrial areas followed a similar pattern. Only the 3-thia fatty acid induced mitochondrial growth in type II muscle fibers. The mean area occupied by the mitochondria and the size distribution of mitochondrial areas in both fiber types were highly similar in DHA-treated and control animals. Only the 3-thia fatty acid increased the gene-expression of carnitine palmitoyltransferase (CPT)-II in the diaphragm. In the heart, however, the gene expression decreased. In hepatocytes an increase in the mean size of mitochondria was observed after EPA treatment, concomitant with an increase in mitochondrial CPT-II gene expression. Administration of 2-methyl-substituted EPA (methyl-EPA) induced a higher rate of growth of mitochondria than EPA. At the peroxisomal level in the hepatocytes a 3-thia fatty acid, EPA, and DHA increased the areal fraction concomitant with the induction of gene expression of peroxisomal fatty acyl-CoA oxidase (FAO). In the diaphragm, mRNA levels of FAO were not affected by EPA or DHA treatment, whereas gene expression was significantly increased after 3-thia fatty acid treatment. In the heart, both 3-thia fatty acid, EPA and DHA tended to decrease the levels of FAO mRNA. The areal fraction of fat droplets in all three tissue types was significantly lower in the groups treated with 3-thia fatty acid. In the group treated with EPA a lower areal fraction of fat droplets was observed, while the DHA group was similar to the control. This indicates that EPA and DHA have different effects on mitochondrial biogenesis.

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