AbstractPolyunsaturated fatty acids are selectively cytotoxic in culture. Incorporation of these fatty acids leads to profound changes in membrane fatty acid composition which in turn may alter the activity of transmembrane receptor/effector systems. In U937 cells, hormone stimulated production of cyclic AMP can be reduced by 30% following incubation with gamma-linolenic acid (18:3n-6). It is suggested that beta-adrenoreceptor number, subtype and adenylyl cyclase stimulation may be regulated by alterations in membrane fatty acid composition as a result of changes in the levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids and alterations in eicosanoid production.
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