The accumulation of dicarboxylic acids, particularly long chain, is a prominent feature of Reye's syndrome and diseases of peroxisomal metabolism. We assessed the omega-oxidation of a spectrum of fatty acids in rats and asked whether pretreatment of rats with aspirin, which is known to predispose children to Reye's syndrome, would affect omega-oxidation of long chain fatty acids. We found that aspirin increased liver free fatty acids and increased the capacity for omega-oxidation three- to sevenfold. Omega-oxidation of long chain substrate was stimulated to a greater degree than medium chain substrate and was apparent within one day of treatment, at serum aspirin concentrations below the therapeutic range in humans. The apparent Km for lauric acid was 0.9 microM and 12 microM for palmitate. We also found a difference in the storage stability of activity toward medium and long chain substrate. Saturating concentrations of palmitate had no effect on the formation of dodecanedioic acid, whereas laurate decreased but never eliminated the omega-oxidation of palmitate. 97% of the total laurate omega-oxidative activity recovered was found in the microsomes, but 32% of palmitate omega-oxidative activity was present in the cytosol. These results demonstrate that aspirin is a potent stimulator of omega-oxidation and suggest that there may be multiple enzymes for omega-oxidation with overlapping substrate specificity.
R K Kundu, J H Tonsgard, G S Getz