Regulation of plasma fatty acid oxidation during low- and high-intensity exercise

Labros S. Sidossis, Amalia Gastaldelli, Samuel Klein, Robert R. Wolfe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

123 Scopus citations


In the present study we examined the hypothesis that fatty acid oxidation is less during high-intensity exercise than during moderate- intensity exercise because of inhibition of longchain fatty acid entry into the mitochondria. Six volunteers exercised at 40% peak oxygen consumption (V̇O2(peak)) for 60 min and at 80% V̇O2(peak) for 30 min on two different occasions. [1-13C]oleate, a long-chain fatty acid, and [1-14C]octanoate, a medium-chain fatty acid, were infused for the duration of the studies. Lipids and heparin were infused during exercise at 80% V̇O2(peak) to prevent the expected decrease in plasma free fatty acid (FFA) concentration. Plasma oleate and total FFA availability were similar in the two experiments. Oleate oxidation decreased from 2.8 ± 0.6 (40% V̇O2(peak)) to 1.8 ± 0.2 μmol · kg-1 · min-1 (80% V̇O2(peak), P < 0.05), whereas octanoate oxidation increased from 1.0e-05 ± 1.0e-06 (40% V̇O2(peak)) to 1.3e-05 + 5.1e-06 μmol · kg-1 · min-1 (80% V̇O2(peak), P < 0.05). Furthermore, the percentage of oleate uptake oxidized decreased from 67.7 ± 2.8% (40% V̇O2(peak)) to 51.8 ± 4.6% (80% V̇O2(peak), P < 0.05), whereas the percentage of octanoate oxidized was similar during exercise at 40 and 80% V̇O2(peak) (84.8 ± 2.7 vs. 89.3 ± 2.7%, respectively). Our data suggest that, in addition to suboptimal FFA availability, fatty acid oxidation is likely limited during high-intensity exercise because of direct inhibition of long-chain fatty acid entry into mitochondria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1065-E1070
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number6 35-6
StatePublished - Jun 1997


  • Carnitine palmitoyltransferase
  • Malonyl-coenzyme A
  • Medium- chain fatty acids
  • Mitochondria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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