It is now established that fatty acid 7,10,13,16-22:4 is metabolized into 4,7,10,13,16-22:5 as follows: 7,10,13,16-22:4 → 9,12,15,18-24:4 → 6,9,12,15,18-24:5 → 4,7,10,13,16-22:5. Neither C24 fatty acid was esterified to 1-acyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (1-acyl-GPC) by microsomes, whereas the rates of esterification of 4,7,10,13,16-22:5, 7,10,13,16-22:4 and 5,8,11,14-20:4 were respectively 135, 18 and 160 nmol/min per mg of microsomal protein. About four times as much acid-soluble radioactivity was produced when peroxisomes were incubated with [3-14C]9,12,15,18-24:4 compared with 6,9,12,15,18-24:5. Only [1-14C]7,10,13,16-22:4 accumulated when [3-14C]9,12,15,18-24:4 was the substrate, but both 4,7,10,13,16-22:5 and 2-trans-4,7,10,13,16-22:6 were produced from [3-14C]6,9,12,15,18-24:5. When the two C24 fatty acids were incubated with peroxisomes, microsomes and 1-acyl-GPC there was a decrease in the production of acid-soluble radioactivity from [3-14C]6,9,12,15,18-24:5, but not from [3-14C]9,12,15,18-24:4. The preferential fate of [1-14C]4,7,10,13,16-22:5, when it was produced, was to move out of peroxisomes for esterification into the acceptor, whereas only small amounts of 7,10,13,16-22:4 were esterified. By using 2H-labelled 9,12,15,18-24:4 it was shown that, when 7,10,13,16-22:4 was produced, its primary metabolic fate was degradation to yield esterified arachidonate. Collectively, the results show that an inverse relationship exists between rates of peroxisomal β-oxidation and of esterification into 1-acyl-GPC by microsomes. Most importantly, when a fatty acid is produced with its first double bond at position 4, it preferentially moves out of peroxisomes for esterification to 1-acyl-GPC by microsomes, rather than being degraded further via a cycle of β-oxidation that requires NADPH-dependent 2,4-dienoyl-CoA reductase.

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