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J Lipid Res. 1982 Dec;23(9):1292-300.

Involvement of triacylglycerol in the metabolism of fatty acids by cultured neuroblastoma and glioma cells.


The metabolism (chain elongation, desaturation, and incorporation into complex lipids) of thirteen different radiolabeled fatty acids and acetate was examined in N1E-115 neuroblastoma and C-6 glioma cell lines in culture. During 6-hr incubations, all fatty acids were extensively (14-80%) esterified to complex lipids, mainly choline phosphoglycerides and triacylglycerol. With trienoic and tetraenoic substrates, inositol and ethanolamine phosphoglycerides also contained up to 30% of the labeled fatty acids; plasmalogen contained up to half of the label in the ethanolamine phosphoglyceride fraction of neuroblastoma cells. Chain elongation and delta 9, delta 6, and delta 5 desaturation occurred in both cell lines; delta 4 desaturation was not observed. Seemingly anomalous utilization of arachidic acid and some selectivity based on the geometric configuration of double bonds was observed. These studies indicate that these cell lines are capable of modulating cellular membrane composition by a combination of selective exclusion and removal of inappropriate acyl chains and of modification of other acyl chains by desaturation and chain elongation. The time courses and patterns of modification and incorporation of exogenous substrates into phospholipids and triacylglycerol suggest that exogenous unsaturated fatty acid may be incorporated into triacylglycerol and later released for further metabolism and incorporation into phospholipids. This supports a role for triacylglycerol in the synthesis of membrane complex lipids in cell lines derived from neural tissue.

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