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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Enzymes of fatty acid beta-oxidation in developing brain.

Developmental profiles were determined for the activities of eight enzymes involved in fatty acid beta-oxidation in rat brain. The enzymes studied were the palmitoyl-CoA, octanoyl-CoA, butyryl-CoA, glutaryl-CoA, and 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenases, the enoyl-CoA hydratase (crotonase), and the C4- and C10-thiolases. With the exception of the thiolases, all of the activities (expressed on the basis of brain weight) increased during the postnatal period of brain maturation. The activity of octanoyl-CoA dehydrogenase was elevated markedly compared to that of palmitoyl-CoA dehydrogenase at all developmental stages and in all brain regions in the rat. A similar relationship between these enzymes was observed in various regions of adult human brain. Comparisons of the activities of the beta-oxidation enzymes in human brain versus human skeletal muscle and in cultured neural cell lines (neuroblastoma and glioma) versus cultured skin fibroblasts revealed that the elevated activity of octanoyl-CoA dehydrogenase relative to palmitoyl-CoA dehydrogenase was specific to the neural tissues. This relationship was particularly evident when the enzyme activities were normalized to the activity of crotonase. The data support previous findings with radiochemical tracers, indicating that the brain is capable of utilizing fatty acids as substrates for oxidative energy metabolism. The relatively high activity of the medium-chain fatty acyl-CoA dehydrogenase in neural tissue may represent an adaptive mechanism to protect the brain from the known encephalopathic effects of octanoate and other medium-chain fatty acids that readily cross the blood-brain barrier.[1]


  1. Enzymes of fatty acid beta-oxidation in developing brain. Reichmann, H., Maltese, W.A., DeVivo, D.C. J. Neurochem. (1988) [Pubmed]
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