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Physiol Biochem Zool. 2001 Mar-Apr;74(2):273-82.

Enzyme activities support the use of liver lipid-derived ketone bodies as aerobic fuels in muscle tissues of active sharks.

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Department of Biological Science, California State University-Fullerton, Fullerton, CA 92834, USA.


Few data exist to test the hypothesis that elasmobranchs utilize ketone bodies rather than fatty acids for aerobic metabolism in muscle, especially in continuously swimming, pelagic sharks, which are expected to be more reliant on lipid fuel stores during periods between feeding bouts and due to their high aerobic metabolic rates. Therefore, to provide support for this hypothesis, biochemical indices of lipid metabolism were measured in the slow-twitch, oxidative (red) myotomal muscle, heart, and liver of several active shark species, including the endothermic shortfin mako, Isurus oxyrinchus. Tissues were assayed spectrophotometrically for indicator enzymes of fatty acid oxidation (3-hydroxy-o-acyl-CoA dehydrogenase), ketone-body catabolism (3-oxoacid-CoA transferase), and ketogenesis (hydroxy-methylglutaryl-CoA synthase). Red muscle and heart had high capacities for ketone utilization, low capacities for fatty acid oxidation, and undetectable levels of ketogenic enzymes. Liver demonstrated undetectable activities of ketone catabolic enzymes but high capacities for fatty acid oxidation and ketogenesis. Serum concentrations of the ketone beta-hydroxybutyrate varied interspecifically (means of 0.128-0.978 micromol mL(-1)) but were higher than levels previously reported for teleosts. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that aerobic metabolism in muscle tissue of active sharks utilizes ketone bodies, and not fatty acids, derived from liver lipid stores.

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