AbstractWe examined the delta 4 (n-6) desaturation and the fatty acid composition of liver microsomes in the insulin-dependent spontaneously diabetic Wistar Bio-Breeding (BB) rat. The desaturation of adrenic acid to n-6 docosapentaenoic acid was decreased in the normo- and hyperglycemic diabetic rats. Insulin treatment with 1.0 IU. 100 g body weight-1 twice a day for 2 days restored the reduced activity during the hypoglycemic period. The pattern of responses was similar to that of linoleic acid delta 6 and dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid delta 5 desaturases, with a non-parallel relationship between the desaturation system and the glycemia. The microsomal fatty acid composition of BB rat liver reflected only partially to the delta 4 desaturation at different states of glycemia. Factors other than impaired desaturation system are involved in the fatty acid metabolism of spontaneously diabetic rats.
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