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Prog Lipid Res. 2010 Apr;49(2):186-99. doi: 10.1016/j.plipres.2009.12.002. Epub 2009 Dec 16.

The key roles of elongases and desaturases in mammalian fatty acid metabolism: Insights from transgenic mice.

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Integrative Toxicology and Metabolism, Pôle de Toxicologie Alimentaire, Laboratoire de Pharmacologie et Toxicologie, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique INRA UR66, Toulouse Cedex 3, France.


In mammalian cells, elongases and desaturases play critical roles in regulating the length and degree of unsaturation of fatty acids and thereby their functions and metabolic fates. In the past decade, a great deal has been learnt about these enzymes and the first part of this review summarizes our current knowledge concerning these enzymes. More recently, several transgenic mouse models lacking either an elongase (Elovl3(-/-), Elovl4(-/-), Elovl5(-/-), Elovl6(-/-)) or a desaturase (Scd-1(-/-), Scd-2(-/-), Fads2(-/-)) have been developed and the second part of this review focuses on the insights gained from studies with these mice, as well as from investigations on cell cultures.

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