Studies on Hepatocellular Uptake of Fatty Acids
Long-chain fatty acids are quantitatively the most important substrates for energy production. Their uptake by the liver is rapid, but little is known about the mechanism by which they permeate the plasma membrane. Investigation of fatty acid permeation, however, is potentially important since the influx of other major energy-yielding substrates, such as glucose and amino acids, has been shown to be a site of metabolic and hormonal control. The lipophilic character of fatty acids suggests that they might diffuse directly through the phospholipid bilayer of the membrane [1–3]. However, several recent observations suggest that at least a portion of fatty acid uptake might be mediated by a specific transport system [4, 5]. Studies with cardiac cells and adipocytes showed fatty acid uptake to be a saturable phenomenon [6, 7]; furthermore fatty acid oxidation in hepatocytes was inhibited by trypsin pretreatment of the cells . Some investigators have argued that the apparent saturation of uptake observed in those studies, as well as the effect on uptake produced by sex hormones , fasting  and Clofibrate  reflected saturation of an intracellular metabolic step rather than of membrane transport [12, 13].
KeywordsFatty Acid Binding Protein Fatty Acid Uptake Liver Plasma Membrane Fatty Acid Utilization Specific Transport System
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