1. The mechanism of absorption of phosphatidylcholine was studied in rats by injecting into the intestine phosphatidylcholine specifically labelled either in the fatty acid or in the glycerol moiety or with 32P, when considerable amounts of 1-acyl-lysophosphatidylcholine were found in the intestinal lumen. 2-([14C]Acyl)phosphatidylcholine gave markedly more radioactive unesterified fatty acids in the lumen, compared with the 1-([14C]acyl) derivative. Some of the radioactivity from either the fatty acid or the glycerol moiety of the injected phosphatidylcholine appeared in the mucosal triacylglycerols. 2. Injection of 32P-labelled phosphatidylcholine or 32P-labelled lysophosphatidylcholine led to the appearance of radioactive glycerylphosphorylcholine, glycerophosphate and Pi in the mucosa. 3. Rat mucosa was found to contain a highly active glycerylphosphorylcholine diesterase. 4. It was concluded that the dietary phosphatidylcholine is hydrolysed in the intestinal lumen by the pancreatic phospholipase A to 1-acylglycerylphosphorylcholine, which on entering the mucosal cell is partly reacylated to phosphatidylcholine, and the rest is further hydrolysed to glycerylphosphorylcholine, glycerophosphate, glycerol and Pi. The fatty acids and glycerophosphate are then reassembled to give triacylglycerols via the Kennedy (1961) pathway.

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