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J Lipid Res. 2008 Oct;49(10):2124-34. doi: 10.1194/jlr.M700600-JLR200. Epub 2008 Jul 3.

Compartmentalization of stearoyl-coenzyme A desaturase 1 activity in HepG2 cells.

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Department of Pediatrics, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA.


Stearoyl-coenzyme A desaturase 1 (SCD1) catalyzes the conversion of stearate (18:0) to oleate (18:1n-9) and of palmitate (16:0) to palmitoleate (16:1), which are key steps in triglyceride synthesis in the fatty acid metabolic network. This study investigated the role of SCD1 in fatty acid metabolism in HepG2 cells using SCD1 inhibitors and stable isotope tracers. HepG2 cells were cultured with [U-(13)C]stearate, [U-(13)C]palmitate, or [1,2-(13)C]acetate and (1) DMSO, (2) compound CGX0168 or CGX0290, or (3) trans-10,cis-12 conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). (13)C incorporation into fatty acids was determined by GC-MS and desaturation indices calculated from the respective ion chromatograms. FAS, SCD1, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha, and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma mRNA levels were assessed by semiquantitative RT-PCR. The addition of CGX0168 and CGX0290 decreased the stearate and palmitate desaturation indices in HepG2 cells. CLA led to a decrease in the desaturation of stearate only, but not palmitate. Comparison of desaturation indices based on isotope enrichment ratios differed, depending on the origin of saturated fatty acid. SCD1 gene expression was not affected in any group. In conclusion, the differential effects of SCD1 inhibitors and CLA on SCD1 activity combined with the dependence of desaturation indices on the source of saturated fatty acid strongly support the compartmentalization of desaturation systems. The effects of SCD1 inhibition on fatty acid composition in HepG2 cells occurred through changes in the dynamics of the fatty acid metabolic network and not through transcriptional regulatory mechanisms.

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