Physiologic melatonin concentration, omega-3 fatty acids, and conjugated linoleic acid inhibit fatty acid transport in rodent hind limb skeletal muscle in vivo

Comp Med. 2003 Apr;53(2):186-90.


Melatonin (MLT), the circadian neurohormone secreted by the pineal gland in mammals during darkness, eicosapentanoic acid (EPA), and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) have established regulatory roles in cancer growth. Investigations in our laboratory have indicated that these agents inhibit fatty acid (FA) transport by tumors and several sub-types of white adipose tissue via inhibitory G protein-coupled receptor mechanisms. Skeletal muscle constitutes over 45% of human body mass and plays an important role in cancer cachexia and obesity-related diseases. Since fatty acid oxidation is a major source of energy for this tissue, we tested the hypothesis that physiologic MLT levels, EPA, or CLA injected intravenously, inhibit FA uptake in rat skeletal muscle in vivo. We used a surgical technique for catheterizing the femoral vein in rats that allows rapid blood collection from the entire hind limb, while ensuring continuous blood flow to the tissue. Blood acid/gas tensions and hematocrit were monitored and remained constant during the course of each experiment. The MLT, EPA, and CLA inhibited FA uptake by the tissue and lowered cAMP values. Glucose uptake and glycerol production in the hind limb were not affected. These investigations suggest a novel role for MLT, omega-3 FAs, and CLA in the regulation of FA transport and fat metabolism in skeletal muscle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / metabolism*
  • Hindlimb
  • Linoleic Acids, Conjugated / metabolism*
  • Linoleic Acids, Conjugated / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Melatonin / metabolism*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Specific Pathogen-Free Organisms


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Linoleic Acids, Conjugated
  • Melatonin