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The suitability of the caco-2 cell line as a model for studying the long term impact of dietary fatty acids on intestinal lipid handling and chylomicron production was examined. Chronic supplementation of caco-2 cells with palmitic acid (PA) resulted in a lower triacylglycerol secretion than oleic acid (OA). This was coupled with a detrimental effect of PA, but not OA, on transepithelial electrical resistance (TER) measurements, suggesting a loss of structural integrity across the cell monolayer. Addition of OA reversed the adverse effects of PA and stearic acid on TER and increased the ability of cells to synthesise and accumulate lipid, but did not normalise the secretion of lipids by caco-2 cells. Increasing amounts of OA and decreasing amounts of PA in the incubation media markedly improved the ability of cells to synthesise apolipoprotein B and secrete lipids. Real time RT-PCR revealed a down regulation of genes involved in lipoprotein synthesis following PA than OA. Electron microscopy showed adverse effects of PA on cellular morphology consistent with immature enterocytes such as stunted microvilli and poor tight junction formation. In conclusion, previously reported differences in lipoprotein secretion by caco-2 cells supplemented with saturated fatty acids (SFA) and OA may partly reflect early cytotoxic effects of SFA on cellular integrity and function. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original publication




Journal article


Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids

Publication Date





475 - 485