1. The specific activities of long-chain fatty acid-CoA ligase (EC6.2.1.3) and of long-chain fatty acyl-CoA hydrolase (EC3.1.2.2) were measured in soluble and microsomal fractions from rat brain. 2. In the presence of either palmitic acid or stearic acid, the specific activity of the ligase increased during development; the specific activity of this enzyme with arachidic acid or behenic acid was considerably lower. 3. The specific activities of palmitoyl-CoA hydrolase and of stearoyl-CoA hydrolase in the microsomal fraction decreased markedly (75%) between 6 and 20 days after birth; by contrast, the corresponding specific activities in the soluble fraction showed no decline. 4. Stearoyl-CoA hydrolase in the microsomal fraction is inhibited (99%) by bovine serum albumin; this is in contrast with the microsomal fatty acid-chain-elongation system, which is stimulated 3.9-fold by albumin. Inhibition of stearoyl-CoA hydrolase does not stimulate stearoyl-CoA chain elongation. Therefore it does not appear likely that the decline in the specific activity of hydrolase during myelogenesis is responsible for the increased rate of fatty acid chain elongation. 5. It is suggested that the decline in specific activity of the microsomal hydrolase and to a lesser extent the increase in the specific activity of the ligase is directly related to the increased demand for long-chain acyl-CoA esters during myelogenesis as substrates in the biosynthesis of myelin lipids.

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