Changes in endogenous levels of phospholipid arachidonic acid and in its radioactive incorporation can be detected in the rat kidney medulla during maturation. In an effort to explain this phenomenon, the arachidonoyl-CoA synthetase activity in the neonatal (10 days of age) and adult kidney (70-day-old rats) were studied. The neonatal kidney enzyme showed greater affinity, but less capacity than the adult enzyme to incorporate arachidonic acid into the membrane. The apparent Km values were 27.8 and 73.9 µM while the vmax was 3.68 and 15.7 nmol/min/mg protein, for 10 and 70 days of age, respectively. Affinity for ATP was found to be almost 7-fold greater in adults when compared to neonates. The vmax for ATP also increased during development, with values of 1.04 and 2.87 at 10 and 70 days of age, respectively. Affinity for coenzyme A did not vary between the two stages studied, though the vmax increased 10-fold from 10 to 70 days of age. Since arachidonic acid availability is low in the perinatal stage because of its restricted endogenous synthesis, the higher enzyme affinity for this fatty acid at 10 days of age described here, could be of great importance in helping to capture the low but indispensable amount of arachidonic acid present in maternal milk during lactation.

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