Fatty acid oxidation and its hormonal modulation were investigated in cultured rat calvaria and in cultivated cell populations. The latter were obtained from calvaria of newborn rats by sequential time-dependent digestion with collagenase, yielding eight cell populations: the early ones containing mainly fibroblasts, the middle ones being osteoblast-like, and late ones osteoblast-osteocyte-like. In calvaria, fatty acid oxidation was increased by adding 0.1 mM- and 1.0 mM-palmitate to the medium, containing 10% (v/v) fetal-calf serum. No effect was found after parathyrin addition in vitro or when injected in vivo. All cell populations obtained by sequential digestion were found to oxidize palmitate, whereby the osteoblast-like cells showed a lower oxidation rate than the other populations. Both parathyrin and calcitonin had no effect on fatty acid oxidation. 1,25-Dihydroxycholecalciferol at 1-100 nM and 24,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol at 100 nM increased oxidation primarily in the population enriched with osteoblast-like cells. Insulin at 1.6 microM diminished it in the cell populations enriched with osteoblast-like cells and in the late bone-cell fraction. However, glucagon had no effect. The energy provided by fatty acid oxidation in this system is approx. 40-80% of glucose metabolism, suggesting that this event may be of importance in the energy metabolism of bone.

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