Effects of Medium-Chain Fatty Acids on Intracellular Calcium Levels and the Cytoskeleton in Human Intestinal (Caco-2) Cell Monolayers

Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2001 Apr;65(4):743-51. doi: 10.1271/bbb.65.743.


The effects of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA) on intracellular calcium (Ca2+) levels and actin filaments in the Caco-2 monolayer were investigated. A site-dependent increase in intracellular Ca2+ levels caused by decanoic acid (C10) at 13 mM was observed by confocal laser scanning microscopy. The area in which the intracellular Ca2+ levels was increased was measured by image analysis, and increased to 11% of the total area of the monolayer within 1 minute. This was maintained for 5 minutes, and decreased thereafter. The other MCFAs did not significantly increase the intracellular Ca2+ levels. Obvious morphological changes of actin filaments were induced by only C10 among C8-C14. The area in which actin filaments were depleted was also quantified, and the increase in area became significant after 40 minutes. The area of the actin-depleted spot corresponded to the area occupied by 5 to 10 cells as well as that in which the intracellular Ca2+ level was increased. The effectiveness of only C10 suggested that the mechanism of the absorption enhancement by C10 would be different from that by the other MCFAs, or that C10 has some additional physiological functions although the mechanism of the enhancement is the same as for the other MCFAs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actins / chemistry
  • Actins / ultrastructure
  • Algorithms
  • Caco-2 Cells
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Cytoskeleton / drug effects*
  • Fatty Acids / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism*
  • Intestines / cytology
  • Intestines / drug effects
  • Permeability


  • Actins
  • Fatty Acids
  • Calcium