Normal female rats were given 15μg of ethynyloestradiol/kg body wt. for 14 days and were killed on day 15 after starvation for 12–14h. The livers were isolated and were perfused with a medium containing washed bovine erythrocytes, bovine serum albumin, glucose and [1-14C]oleic acid; 414μmol of oleate were infused/h during a 3h experimental period. The output of bile and the flow of perfusate/g of liver were decreased in livers from animals pretreated with ethynyloestradiol, whereas the liver weight was increased slightly. The rates of uptake and of utilization of [1-14C]oleate were measured when the concentration of unesterified fatty acid in the perfusate plasma was constant. The uptake of unesterified fatty acid was unaffected by pretreatment of the animal with oestrogen; however, the rate of incorporation of [1-14C]oleate into hepatic and perfusate triacylglycerol was stimulated, whereas the rate of conversion into ketone bodies was impaired by treatment of the rat with ethynyloestradiol. Pretreatment of the rat with ethynyloestradiol increased the output of very-low-density lipoprotein triacylglycerol, cholesterol, phospholipid and protein. The production of 14CO2 and the incorporation of radioactivity into phospholipid, cholesteryl ester and diacylglycerol was unaffected by treatment with the steroid. The net output of glucose by livers from oestrogen-treated rats was impaired despite the apparent increased quantities of glycogen in the liver. The overall effect of pretreatment with oestrogen on hepatic metabolism of fatty acids is the channeling of [1-14C]oleate into synthesis and increased output of triacylglycerol as a moiety of the very-low-density lipoprotein, whereas ketogenesis is decreased. The effect of ethynyloestradiol on the liver is apparently independent of the nutritional state of the animal from which the liver was obtained. It is pertinent that hepatocytes prepared from livers of fed rats that had been treated with ethynyloestradiol produced fewer ketone bodies and secreted more triacylglycerol than did hepatocytes prepared from control animals. In these respects, the effects of the steroid were similar in livers from fed or starved (12–14h) rats. Oestrogens may possibly inhibit hepatic oxidation of fatty acid, making more fatty acid available for the synthesis of triacylglycerol, or may stimulate the biosynthesis of triacylglycerol, or may be active on both metabolic pathways.

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