Reversible phenotypic modulation induced by deprivation of exogenous essential fatty acids

M. Laposata, M. Minda, A. M. Capriotti, E. J. Hartman, E. E. Furth, R. V. Iozzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Essential fatty acid deficiency, produced by deprivation of ω-6 and ω-3 fatty acids, is a condition characterized by renal disease, dermatitis, and infertility. Although many of the biochemical aspects of this disorder have been investigated, little is known about the ultrastructural changes induced by essential fatty acid deficiency. Using a unique fatty acid-deficient cell line (EFD-1), which demonstrates the in vivo fatty acid changes of essential fatty acid deficiency, and the prostaglandin E2-producing mouse fibrosarcoma line from which it was derived (HSDM1C1), we correlated ultrastructural and biochemical changes induced by prolonged deprivation of all exogenous lipids and subsequent repletion of selected essential fatty acids. We found that in cells deprived of all exogenous lipids, there was dilation of rough endoplasmic reticulum and an associated defect in protein secretion; these changes were specifically reversed by arachidonate. There was also an accumulation of secondary lysosomes containing degraded membranes in these cells with an associated increase in phospholipids relative to parent HSDM1C1 cells. Cytoplasmic lipid bodies present in parent cells disappeared, with an associated decrease in triacylglycerol. After just 2 days in lipid-free medium, all these changes were apparent, and prostaglandin E2 production was markedly impaired despite normal amounts of cellular arachidonate. Incubation of EFD-1 cells with arachidonate, the major prostaglandin precursor fatty acid, induced a reversion to the HSDM1C1 phenotype, whereas other fatty acids were totally ineffective. These results indicate changes in fatty acid metabolism in essential fatty acid deficiency are associated with marked alterations in ultrastructure and secretion of protein from cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)838-847
Number of pages10
JournalLaboratory Investigation
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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