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J Nutr. 2012 Feb;142(2):221-6. doi: 10.3945/jn.111.146068. Epub 2012 Jan 5.

Oleate metabolism in pig enterocytes is characterized by an increased oxidation rate in the presence of a high esterification rate within two days after birth.

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INRA, UMR1319 Micalis, Jouy-en-Josas, France.


Oleate (OLE) is the principle fatty acid (FA) in mammalian colostrum, but its role in the energy supply in enterocytes after birth remains unknown. We investigated the metabolic fate of OLE in pig enterocytes at birth (d0) and after 2 d of suckling (d2). Cellular TG and phospholipids (PL) and FA composition were analyzed. Metabolic end-products of [1-¹⁴C]OLE were measured in enterocyte incubations. We characterized intestinal carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1 (CPT1), the key enzyme of mitochondrial FA oxidation. The TG content was 6.6-fold higher in enterocytes from pigs on d 2 than in those obtained on d 0, whereas the PL content did not differ. The level of OLE in TG and PL increased from 15 and 11% of total FA, respectively, in enterocytes from newborn piglets to 30 and 17%, respectively, in those from d2 pigs. The capacity for OLE utilization was 2.8-fold greater in d2 than in d0 pig enterocytes. The oxidation and esterification rates were enhanced in enterocytes from piglets on d 2 compared to those obtained on d 0, by 4- and 2.6-fold, respectively. The predominant OLE fate was the esterification pathway, representing >85% of OLE metabolized in both groups. The limited OLE oxidation observed at d 2 may result from the presence of a highly malonyl-CoA-sensitive CPT1A, because the half maximal inhibitory concentration for malonyl-CoA was 162 ± 25 nmol/L. This study highlighted the high esterification capacity for OLE in the newborn pig intestine, which may preserve this major colostrum FA for delivery to other tissues.

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