Studies of prolonged avian flight have shown it to require large amounts of energy supplied mainly by free fatty acids (FFA). In the present study, the high levels of plasma ketone bodies found in sparrows (2.58 mmoll-1) are supportive of the use of fatty acids for flight. To determine the nature of fatty acid (oleic acid, OA) uptake, various pharmacological agents were used. The uptake of OA was examined using the extensor digitorum communis (EDC) muscle of English sparrows incubated in vitro. Initial studies demonstrated that radiolabeled OA uptake decreased in the presence of increasing unlabeled OA, suggesting that uptake occurred by a facultative transport process. To further characterize OA uptake, EDC muscles were incubated with either: insulin (2 ng ml-1), insulin-like growth factor isoform-1 (IGF-I; 48 ng ml -1), 5′-Aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide-1-β-D-ribofuranoside (AICAR; 2 mmol) or caffeine (5 mmol). Insulin, but not IGF-I, significantly increased OA uptake by avian EDC (P<0.01). Caffeine and AICAR were ineffective at increasing OA uptake. A specific inhibitor of FFA transport by fatty acid transporters (FAT/ CD36), sulfo-N-succinimidyl oleate (SSO; 500 μmoles), significantly decreased OA uptake at 2.5 min. The effectiveness of SSO suggests that a FAT/CD36-like protein is expressed in avian tissues. As uptake of OA was not completely blocked by SSO, it is likely that other mechanisms for FFA movement across membranes, such as diffusion, may be present.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)268-276
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Experimental Zoology Part A: Comparative Experimental Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 12 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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