Consumption of saturated fat has been associated with the development of obesity, diabetes, hepatic steatosis and related diseases. Additionally, animal studies have shown that consumption of a diet high in saturated fat results in a rapid upregulation of hepatic lipogenic genes. Thus, to determine if saturated fatty acids have a direct effect on hepatic gene expression, rat primary hepatocytes were cultured and treated with various fatty acids. RNA was harvested from the hepatocytes and cDNA was subsequently prepared to analyze for lipogenic gene expression. Lipogenic enzymes included fatty acid synthase (FAS), acetyl-coA carboxylase (ACC) isoforms alpha and beta, stearoyl-coenzyme A desaturase 1 (SCD1) and fatty acid elongase 6 (Elovl6). Although lipogenic gene expression was altered in response to the presence of insulin and glucose, saturated fatty acids did not appear to significantly upregulate gene expression of lipogenic genes. These data suggest that the effects of saturated fatty acids on lipogenic gene expression in the liver are not direct. Further experiments will explore whether signals from the adipose tissue or inflammatory signals from microphages are necessary for saturated fatty acids to cause changes in de novo lipogenesis.
Additional contributor: Douglas Mashek (faculty mentor).
The Effect of Saturated Fatty Acids on Lipogenic Gene Expression in Rat Primary Hepatocytes.
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