Medium-chain fatty acids undergo elongation before β-oxidation in fibroblasts

Patricia M. Jones, Yasmeen Butt, Bette Messmer, Richard Boriak, Michael J. Bennett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Although mitochondrial fatty acid β-oxidation (FAO) is considered to be well understood, further elucidation of the pathway continues through evaluation of patients with FAO defects. The FAO pathway can be examined by measuring the 3-hydroxy-fatty acid (3-OHFA) intermediates. We present a unique finding in the study of this pathway: the addition of medium-chain fatty acids to the culture media of fibroblasts results in generation of 3-OHFAs which are two carbons longer than the precursor substrate. Cultured skin fibroblasts from normal and LCHAD-deficient individuals were grown in media supplemented with various chain-length fatty acids. The cell-free medium was analyzed for 3-OHFAs by stable-isotope dilution gas-chromatography/mass-spectrometry. Our finding suggests that a novel carbon chain-length elongation process precedes the oxidation of medium-chain fatty acids. This previously undescribed metabolic step may have important implications for the metabolism of medium-chain triglycerides, components in the dietary treatment of a number of disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-197
Number of pages5
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 21 2006


  • Fatty acid oxidation
  • Fatty acid synthesis
  • Long-chain l-3-hydroxyacyl CoA dehydrogenase
  • Medium-chain triglycerides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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