Hepatic fatty acid metabolism as a determinant of plasma and liver triacylglycerol levels. Studies on tetradecylthioacetic and tetradecylthiopropionic acids

D. K. Asiedu, A. Al-Shurbaji, A. C. Rustan, I. Bjorkhem, Lars Berglund, R. K. Berge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


To investigate the importance of factors influencing substrate availability for triacylglycerol biosynthesis on lipoprotein metabolism, the effects of two opposite-acting sulphur-substituted fatty acid analogues, tetradecylthioacetic acid and tetradecylthiopropionic acid were studied. Administration of tetradecylthioacetic acid to rats resulted in a reduction of plasma levels of triacylglycerols (44%) and cholesterol (26%). This was accompanied by a reduction in very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) triacylglycerols (48%), VLDL cholesterol (36%), low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (36%) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) triacylglycerols (50%), whereas HDL cholesterol levels did not change. Subsequently, the HDL/LDL-cholesterol ratio increased by 40%. The cholesterol-lowering effect was accompanied by a reduction in hydroxymethylglutaryl CoA (HMG-CoA) reductase activity (37%). Both mitochondrial and peroxisomal fatty acid oxidation increased (1.7-fold and 5.3-fold, respectively). Furthermore, there was a significant negative correlation between plasma triacylglycerols and mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation. Hepatic triacylglycerol synthesis was retarded, as indicated by a decrease in VLDL triacylglycerol secretion (40%), and by a reduced liver triacylglycerol content (29%). The activities of lipoprotein lipase and hepatic lipase in post-heparin plasma were not affected. Microsomal and cytosolic phosphatidate phosphohydrolase activities were inhibited (28% and 70%, respectively). Hepatic malonyl-CoA levels decreased by 29% and the total activity of acetyl-CoA carboxylase was reduced (23%). In hepatocytes treated with tetradecylthioacetic acid, mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation increased markedly (100%) and triacylglycerol secretion was reduced (40%). In tetradecylthiopropionic-acid-treated rats, a significant increase in both plasma and VLDL triacylglycerols was found (46% and 72%, respectively) but VLDL triacylglycerol secretion was unaffected. However, no effect on either plasma or lipoprotein cholesterol levels was seen. Mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation was decreased by 50% and hepatic triacylglycerol levels increased by 33%. In hepatocytes exposed to tetradecylthiopropionic acid, triacylglycerol synthesis increased (100%) while triacylglycerol secretion and fatty acid oxidation remained unaltered. The results illustrate that lipoprotein triacylglycerol levels can be modulated by changes in the availability of fatty acid substrate for triacylglycerol biosynthesis, mainly by affecting mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation. In addition, we demonstrate that suppression of rat hepatic HMG-CoA reductase activity during treatment with tetradecylthioacetic acid may contribute to a cholesterol-lowering effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)715-722
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Biochemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • β-oxidation
  • hydroxymethylgutaryl CoA reductase
  • hypolipidermic drug
  • lipogenic enzymes
  • lipoprotein and hepatic lipases
  • triacylglycerol and cholesterol synthesis
  • very-low-density lipoprotein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Hepatic fatty acid metabolism as a determinant of plasma and liver triacylglycerol levels. Studies on tetradecylthioacetic and tetradecylthiopropionic acids'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this