Common mechanisms of monoacylglycerol and fatty acid uptake by human intestinal Caco-2 cells

Shiu Ying Ho, Judith Storch

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68 Scopus citations


Free fatty acids (FFA) and sn-2-monoacylglycerol (sn-2-MG), the two hydrolysis products of dietary triacylglycerol, are absorbed from the lumen into polarized enterocytes that line the small intestine. Intensive studies regarding FFA transport across the brush-border membrane of the enterocyte are available; however, little is known about sn-2-MG transport. We therefore studied the kinetics of sn-2-MG transport, compared with those of long-chain FFA (LCFA), by human intestinal Caco-2 cells. To mimic postprandial luminal and plasma environments, we examined the uptake of taurocholate-mixed lipids and albumin-bound lipids at the apical (AP) and basolateral (BL) surfaces of Caco-2 cells, respectively. The results demonstrate that the uptake of sn-2-monoolein at both the AP and BL membranes appears to be a saturable function of the monomer concentration of sn-2-monoolein. Furthermore, trypsin preincubation inhibits sn-2-monoolein uptake at both AP and BL poles of cells. These results suggest that sn-2-monoolein uptake may be a protein-mediated process. Competition studies also support a protein-mediated mechanism and indicate that LCFA and LCMG may compete through the same membrane protein(s) at the AP surface of Caco-2 cells. The plasma membrane fatty acid-binding protein (FABPpm) is known to be expressed in Caco-2, and here we demonstrate that fatty acid transport protein (FATP) is also expressed. These putative plasma membrane LCFA transporters may be involved in the uptake of sn-2-monoolein into Caco-2 cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)C1106-C1117
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number4 50-4
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology


  • Albumin
  • Fatty acid transport protein
  • Taurocholate


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