Are the small quantities of linolenic acid (LA) in a meal absorbed via a different pathway than the higher concentrations of the other long-chain fatty acids (LCFA) in a mixed meal? To answer this question, varying LA concentrations were infused into the human jejunum via a quadruple-lumen hydraulic biopsy tube. After 0.01-mM LA infusion, no LA was found in triglyceride (TG) extracted from jejunal biopsies, although 58% of the phospholipid plus monoglyceride fraction (PL + MG) and 42% of the LCFA fraction were LA. In marked contrast, after 5.0-mM LA infusion, 60% of the TG, 28% of the PL + MG, and only 3% of the LCFA fractions were LA. By electron microscopy, mostly very low-density lipoprotein-sized (less than 750 A) particles were seen within jejunal fasting biopsies and in biopsies after 0.01, 0.1, or 1.0-mM LA infusions; mostly chylomicrons (greater than 750 A) were seen within jejunal biopsies after 5.0-mM LA infusion. We conclude that LA at its usual very low dietary concentrations is absorbed mostly as invisible LCFA and PL molecules; whereas at higher concentrations it is absorbed like most dietary fat via lacteals as TG and PL within visible chylomicrons.
- Copyright © 1981 the American Physiological Society