Conditions for the isolation of rat hepatocytes that are responsive to insulin with regard to fatty acid synthesis were explored. Cells prepared according to the procedure of Ingebretsen and Wagle require the presence of fetal calf serum for insulin expression. Cells isolated by the Seglen method are the preparation of choice, since they respond to insulin in a simple, well-defined medium and, moreover, show much higher basal rates of fatty acid synthesis. In the latter cells isolated from fed male rats, the rate of fatty acid synthesis, as determined by tritium incorporation from [3H]H2O at 37°C, is enhanced within 30 min after addition of insulin to the incubation medium; with glucagon, it is depressed. In the presence of insulin, the cellular content of malonyl coenzyme A is noticeably increased, whereas the concentrations of pyruvate, lactate, and citrate are not markedly affected. Glucagon, on the other hand, decreases the concentrations of all four intermediates. The activity of acetyl-CoA carboxylase is stimulated and depressed after addition of insulin and glucagon, respectively. In all conditions tested, the activity of acetyl-CoA carboxylase correlates with the rate of fatty acid synthesis, which in turn correlates with the cellular level of malonyl-CoA.

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