Essential fatty acid metabolism in the feline: relationship between liver and brain production of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids

J Lipid Res. 1994 Nov;35(11):2032-40.


A comparison was made between the liver and brain conversion of linoleic acid, 18:2n-6, and linolenic acid, 18:3n-3, to long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in domestic felines. This report demonstrates that 6-desaturase activity does exist in the feline. The liver produced deuterium-labeled polyunsaturated fatty acids up to 22:4n-6 and 22:5n-3. The brain was found to accumulate the deuterium-labeled polyunsaturated fatty acids, 22:5n-6, 22:6n-3, 24:4n-6, 24:5n-6, 24:5n-3, and 24:6n-3. Adult felines were provided a diet consisting of either 10% fat (hydrogenated coconut oil-corn oil 9:1) containing no 20- or 22-carbon n-6 or n-3 fatty acids or a chow diet with meat and meat by-products that contained these long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids for a 6-month period. During this time, the in vivo production of long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids was evaluated in these animals. The cats were given oral doses of both [17,17,18,18,18,2H]18:3n-3 and [9,10,12,13-2H]18:2n-6 and the deuterium-labeled fatty acid metabolites were measured in the blood, liver, and brain using a highly sensitive and specific gas chromatography-mass spectrometry technique. Contrary to previous claims, 6-desaturase activity was shown to exist in the feline. The evidence for this was the detection of [9,10,12,13-2H] 18:3n-6 which was converted from [9,10,12,13-2H]18:2n-6 and observed in the plasma.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arachidonic Acid / biosynthesis
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Cats
  • Coconut Oil
  • Corn Oil / administration & dosage
  • Deuterium
  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated / administration & dosage
  • Fatty Acid Desaturases / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids / blood
  • Fatty Acids, Essential / metabolism*
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / biosynthesis*
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Linoleic Acid
  • Linoleic Acids / metabolism
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Plant Oils / administration & dosage
  • alpha-Linolenic Acid / metabolism


  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated
  • Fatty Acids
  • Fatty Acids, Essential
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • Linoleic Acids
  • Plant Oils
  • alpha-Linolenic Acid
  • Arachidonic Acid
  • Corn Oil
  • Linoleic Acid
  • Deuterium
  • Fatty Acid Desaturases
  • Coconut Oil