Ding, J., et al. (2013). The Peroxisomal Enzyme L-PBE Is Required to Prevent the Dietary Toxicity of Medium-Chain Fatty Acids. Cell Reports, Oct 17;5(1):248-58

This article presents an interesting study in which ANI’ CSO Prof Walter Wahli and Prof Bernard Thorens, member of the ANI’ scientific committee and professor at the Center for Integrative Genomics at the University of Lausanne, have participated.

In brief, different nutrients are activating specific metabolic pathways in order to adapt the organism to available food resources. For instance under high fat diet conditions, abnormal storage of fat in the liver occurs (hepatic steatosis), often associated with the development of inflammatory reactions that can accelerate the development of diabetes, cause fibrosis and cirrhosis later. A question emerged: what are the genes involved in these metabolic problems?

This work demonstrates the physiological role in mice of the gene encoding peroxisomal L-bifunctional enzyme (L-pbe), an enzyme which is needed to remove the dicarboxylic fatty acids, in hepatic adaptation to medium-chain fatty acids. Those fats are found for instance in coconut oil, a frequent diet component in tropical countries and an important ingredient in processed foods. The study suggests that very specific enzymatic processes allow animals and humans to adapt to different useful nutrients for their survival.