The changes in lipid metabolism produced by a coplanar PCB were studied in rats. Male Wistar rats were given a single intraperitoneal injection of 3,3',4,4',5-pentachlorobiphenyl at a dose of 25 mg/kg. After 5 days of administration, total hepatic lipids were treated with 1 M KOH in methanol at 75°C and the liberated fatty acids were analyzed by HPLC after conversion to fluorescent derivatives. In comparison with free-fed and pair-fed control groups, the proportion of arachidonic acid in the PenCB-treated rats was reduced by about 50%, while oleic and linoleic acids increased significantly. We also examined the individual glycerophospholipids, separated by TLC, to see if they were affected by alteration in the fatty acid composition of the whole liver. In all glycerophospholipids, the proportion of arachidonic acid was reduced significantly to the same degree while linoleic acid increased. Changes in the activity of desaturase isozymes have been postulated to explain this unusual lipid metabolism following administration of a toxic PCB and this may contribute to its toxicity.
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