Membrane transport of long-chain fatty acids: Evidence for a facilitated process

Nada Abumrad, Carroll Harmon, Azeddine Ibrahimi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

263 Scopus citations


In mammalian cells, membrane uptake of long-chain fatty acids is mediated by two separate components; a passive component that is a linear function of the concentration of free fatty acid in the extracellular medium and a saturable component that exhibits the characteristics of a protein- facilitated process. This review summarizes the body of work that has accumulated related to the mechanism of fatty acid transport. Evidence in support of a facilitated uptake process is presented with relation to the different cell types or membrane systems where it was collected. The evidence includes saturation kinetics, competition between different substrates, and sensitivity to a variety of inhibitors. Recent knowledge related to membrane proteins thought to be implicated in the uptake process is reviewed. Factors that may modulate uptake or alter the relative contribution of passive versus facilitated components are briefly discussed. These include the molar ratio of fatty acid to its physiological carrier, plasma albumin and the metabolic or hormonal milieu.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2309-2318
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of lipid research
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1998


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