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J Med Food. 2009 Apr;12(2):416-22. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2007.0541.

Punicic acid from Trichosanthes kirilowii seed oil is rapidly metabolized to conjugated linoleic acid in rats.

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Department of Food Science and Nutrition, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, People's Republic of China.


The incorporation and metabolism of orally administered punicic acid (PA), one isomer of conjugated linolenic acid (CLNA), in rat tissues and plasma were studied over a 24-hour period. The punic acid was derived from Trichosanthes kirilowii Maxim seed oil, a unique PA-containing material, and identified and analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The results show that PA was incorporated and metabolized to 9c,11t-conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in rat plasma, liver, kidney, heart, brain, and adipose tissue. The level of PA and CLA in liver and plasma was higher than in brain, heart, kidney, and adipose tissue, and the lowest accumulation occurred in the brain. The observation that PA can be converted into 9c,11t-CLA has gained increased importance since it has been demonstrated that 9c,11t-CLA exerts many biological activities. Therefore natural resources containing CLNA, especially edible T. kirilowii seed, could be a potential dietary source of CLA, following PA metabolism. PA is expected to be used as a functional food and nutraceutical.

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