1. beta-Oxidation of gamma-linolenoylcarnitine, arachidonoylcarnitine and docosahexaenoylcarnitine by isolated rat liver mitochondria is inhibited by uncoupling conditions. Partial re-activation is obtained with added ATP. With mitochondria from clofibrate-treated rats ATP-stimulated rates of beta-oxidation of docosahexaenoylcarnitine are higher than ADP-stimulated rates. This is not observed with the beta-oxidation of oleoylcarnitine. 2. beta-Oxidation of docosahexaenoylcarnitine, in the presence of rotenone, is inhibited by added oxaloacetate, analogous to previous findings with pent-4-enoylcarnitine [see Osmundsen (1978) FEBS Lett. 88, 219-222]. In the absence of rotenone added oxaloacetate stimulates the beta-oxidation of docosahexaenoylcarnitine, but has the opposite effect on the beta-oxidation of palmitoylcarnitine. 3. beta-Oxidation of polyunsaturated acylcarnitines by isolated rat liver mitochondria is selectively increased after treatment of the animals with a low dietary dose (0.2%, w/w) of clofibrate. Treatment with a higher dose of clofibrate (0.5%, w/w) resulted in a general stimulation of beta-oxidation. 4. The results presented suggest that long-chain fatty acids possessing a delta 4-double bond are not readily beta-oxidized unless the 2,4-enoyl-CoA reductase (EC 1.3.1.-) is operating.

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