Meal fatty acid uptake in human adipose tissue: Technical and experimental design issues

S. A. Romanski, Rita M. Nelson, Michael D. Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


The adipose tissue uptake of dietary fat has been studied using fatty acid radiotracers incorporated into a meal, followed by adipose tissue biopsies. A number of experimental design issues, including the use of isotopic tracers to measure meal fatty acid oxidation and plasma appearance of tracer, as well as the heterogeneity of adipose tissue fatty acid uptake, have been addressed. We examined these questions in a study of 24 volunteers (12 men and 12 women) who consumed a meal containing [3H]triolein and [14C]triolein. Slight differences in the purity of [3H]triolein vs. [14C]triolein were found, which could affect the apparent adipose tissue uptake of meal fatty acids. The adipose tissue triglyceride specific activity from bilateral biopsy sites agreed well, implying that a unilateral biopsy is satisfactory for measuring tracer uptake. Meal fatty acid oxidation measured using [3H]triolein and [14C]triolein was well correlated (r = 0.79, P < 0.0001). The peak tracer appearance in plasma chylomicrons occurred i h after the ingestion of a second, unlabeled meal. Our findings have implications for the experimental design of future meal fatty acid tracer/adipose tissue biopsy studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E447-E454
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number2 42-2
StatePublished - 2000


  • Adipose tissue biopsy
  • Body composition
  • Chylomicrons
  • [C]triolein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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