Oxidation of fatty acids is a major source of energy in the heart, liver, and skeletal muscle. It can be measured accurately using respirometry in isolated mitochondria, intact cells, and permeabilized cells or tissues. This technique directly measures the rate of oxygen consumption or flux at various respiratory states when appropriate substrates, uncouplers, and inhibitors are used. Acylcarnitines such as palmitoylcarnitine or octanoylcarnitine are the commonly used substrates. The β-oxidation pathway is prone to feedforward inhibition resulting from accumulation of short-chain acyl-CoA and depletion of CoA, but inclusion of malate or carnitine prevents accumulation of these intermediaries and CoA depletion.
- substrate combinations
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