The zonal distribution within rat liver of acetyl-CoA carboxylase, ATP citrate-lyase and fatty acid synthase, the principal enzymes of fatty acid synthesis, was investigated by using dual-digitonin-pulse perfusion. Analysis of enzyme mass by immunoblotting revealed that, in normally feeding male rats, the periportal/perivenous ratio of acetyl-CoA carboxylase mass was 1.9. The periportal/perivenous ratio of ATP citrate-lyase mass was 1.4, and fatty acid synthase exhibited the largest periportal/perivenous mass gradient, having a ratio of 3.1. This pattern of enzyme distribution was observed in male rats only; in females, the periportal/perivenous ratio of enzyme mass was nearly equal. The periportal/perivenous gradients for acetyl-CoA carboxylase, ATP citrate-lyase and fatty acid synthase observed in fed (and fasted) males were abolished when animals were fasted (48 h) and refed (30 h) with a high-carbohydrate/low-fat diet. As determined by enzyme assay of eluates obtained from the livers of normally feeding male rats, there is also periportal zonation of acetyl-CoA carboxylase activity, expressed either as units per mg of eluted protein or units per mg of acetyl-CoA carboxylase protein, suggesting the existence of gradients in both enzyme mass and specific activity. From these results, we conclude that the enzymes of fatty acid synthesis are zonated periportally in the liver of the normally feeding male rat.

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