In an effort to better define some of the metabolic changes that accompany essential fatty acid deficiency (EFAD), we studied glucose metabolism in adipose tissue of EFAD and normal mice under basal conditions and in the presence of prostaglandin E1 (PGE1), epinephrine, and ACTH1-18. Isolated fat cells were incubated in Krebs-Ringer bicarbonate medium containing glucose 1–14C or 6–14C, and the incorporation of radioactive carbon into CO2 total fat, fatty acids, and glyceride-glycerol was determined. It was found that EFAD increased glucose uptake over controls which could be attributed to increased oxidation to CO2 and fatty acid synthesis. The contribution of the pentose cycle to glucose oxidation was 50–80 % higher in EFAD adipocytes as compared to controls. ACTH1-18g (0.1 µ g/ml) suppressed this by 18 and 30 % in the control and EFAD groups, respectively, while epinephrine decreased pentose cycle activity by 83 and 55 % in the two groups, respectively. PGE1 alone had no significant effect, but in combination with epinephrine it abolished the inhibitory action of the catecholamine in both groups. It is suggested that, although EFA serve as prostaglandin precursors, the effects of EFAD on the metabolism of fat cells cannot be reversed by PGE1in vitro. However, these fat cells retain their responsiveness to the action of both lipolytic (ACTH and epinephrine) and antilipolytic (PGE1) agents.

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