To reexamine the role of albumin in cellular uptake of long chain fatty acids, we measured [3H]oleate uptake by isolated hepatocytes, adipocytes, and cardiac myocytes from incubations containing oleate/albumin complexes at molar ratios from 0.01:1 to 2:1. For each ratio the uptake was studied over a wide range of albumin concentrations. In all three cell types and at any given oleate/albumin ratio, the uptake appeared saturable with increasing concentrations of oleate:albumin complexes despite the fact that the unbound oleate concentration for each molar ratio is essentially constant. However, the "Km" but not the "Vmax" of these pseudosaturation curves was influenced by substrate availability. At low albumin concentrations, uptake velocities did not correlate with unbound oleate concentrations. However, observed and expected uptake velocities coincided at albumin concentrations approaching physiologic levels and were a saturable function of the oleate/albumin ratios and the consequent unbound oleate concentrations employed. Hence, under the experimental conditions employed in this study using a variety of suspended cell types, oleate uptake kinetics were consistent with the conventional theory at physiologic concentrations of albumin.
D Sorrentino, R B Robinson, C L Kiang, P D Berk