The substitution of fish oil with plant-derived oil in diets for carnivorous fish, such as Atlantic salmon, has previously revealed the potentially deleterious supranuclear accumulation of lipid droplets in intestinal cells (enterocytes) which may compromise gut integrity, and consequently, fish health. This suggests that unfamiliar dietary lipid sources may have a significant impact on intestinal lipid metabolism, however, the mode of lipid resynthesis is largely unknown in teleost fish intestine. The present study aimed at characterising three key lipogenic enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of triacylglycerol (TAG) and phosphatidylcholine (PC) in Atlantic salmon enterocytes: monoacylglycerol acyltransferase (MGAT), diacylglycerol acyltransferase (DGAT), and diacylglycerol cholinephosphotransferase (CPT). Furthermore, to investigate the dietary effect of plant oils on these enzymes, two experimental groups of fish were fed a diet with either capelin (fish oil) or vegetable oil (rapeseed oil:palm oil:linseed oil, 55:30:15 w/w) as the lipid source. The monoacylglycerol (MAG) pathway was highly active in the intestinal mucosa of Atlantic salmon as demonstrated by MGAT activity (7 nmol [1-14C]palmitoyl-CoA incorporated min-1mg protein-1) and DGAT activity (4 nmol [1-14C]palmitoyl-CoA incorporated min-1mg protein-1), with MGAT appearing to also provide adequate production of sn-1,2-diacylglycerol for potential utilisation in PC synthesis via CPT activity (0.4 nmol CDP-[14C] choline incorporated min-1mg protein-1). Both DGAT and CPT specific activity values were comparable to reported mammalian equivalents, although MGAT activity was lower. Nevertheless, MGAT appeared not to be the rate-limiting step in salmon intestinal TAG synthesis. The homology between piscine and mammalian enzymes was established by similar stimulation and inhibition profiles by a variety of tested cofactors and isomeric substrates. The low dietary n-3/n-6 PUFA ratio presented in the vegetable oil diet did not significantly affect the activities of MGAT, DGAT, or CPT under optimised assay conditions, or in vivo intestinal mucosa lipid class composition, when compared to a standard fish oil diet. © 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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