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Biochemical properties of porcine white adipose tissue mitochondria and relevance to fatty acid oxidation.

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Department of Biochemistry & Microbiology, University of Port Elizabeth, P.O. Box 1600, 6000, Port Elizabeth, South Africa.


The capacity of white adipose tissue mitochondria to support a high beta-oxidative flux was investigated by comparison to liver mitochondria. Based on marker enzyme activities and electron microscopy, the relative purity of the isolated mitochondria was similar thus allowing a direct comparison on a protein basis. The results confirm the comparable capacity of adipose tissue and liver mitochondria for palmitoyl-carnitine oxidation. Relative to liver, both citrate synthase and alpha-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase were increased 7.87- and 10.38-fold, respectively. In contrast, adipose tissue NAD-isocitrate dehydrogenase was decreased (2.85-fold). Such modifications in the citric acid cycle are expected to severely restrict citrate oxidation in porcine adipose tissue. Except for cytochrome c oxidase, activities of the enzyme complexes comprising the electron transport chain were not significantly different. The decrease in adipose cytochrome c oxidase activity could partly be attributed to a decreased inner membrane as suggested by lipid and enzyme analysis. In addition, Western blotting indicated that adipose and liver mitochondria possess similar quantities of cytochrome c oxidase protein. Taken together these results indicate that not only is the white adipose tissue protoplasm relatively rich in mitochondria, but that these mitochondria contain comparable enzymatic machinery to support a relatively high beta-oxidative rate.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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