Conversion of linoleic acid into arachidonic acid by cultured murine and human keratinocytes. Academic Article uri icon


  • The origin of arachidonic acid (AA) found in the epidermis is not known. Two possibilities exist: either de novo synthesis within the epidermal keratinocyte, or transport of AA formed at distant tissue sites. The current study examined the ability of cultured murine and human keratinocytes to metabolize exogenously added linoleic acid (LA). Conversion of radiolabeled substrate (14C-LA) into 18:3(n-6), 20:2(n-6), 20:3(n-6), and 20:4(n-6) (AA) was noted. The conversion of non-radiolabeled 18:3(n-6) or 20:2(n-6) was also examined and the pattern of metabolites synthesized suggests that the preferred metabolic pathway for conversion of linoleic acid into arachidonic acid is via the classically described pathway in which a delta 6 desaturase constitutes the initial reaction. Although cultured skin fibroblasts are known to convert linoleic acid into arachidonic acid, the current study demonstrates that cultured epidermal keratinocytes can also avidly metabolize exogenous linoleic acid. The ability of cultured keratinocytes, and not of whole epidermis in vivo, to convert linoleic acid into arachidonic acid suggests that specific enzymatic activities may be induced by the tissue culture system itself. Hence, findings of metabolic capabilities in cultured cells may not necessarily be extrapolated to the in vivo situation.

published proceedings

  • J Lipid Res

author list (cited authors)

  • Isseroff, R. R., Ziboh, V. A., Chapkin, R. S., & Martinez, D. T.

citation count

  • 63

complete list of authors

  • Isseroff, RR||Ziboh, VA||Chapkin, RS||Martinez, DT

publication date

  • November 1987