Absorption and metabolism of cis-9, trans-11-CLA and of its oxidation product 9,11-furan fatty acid by Caco-2 cells
Furan fatty acids (furan-FA) can be formed by auto-oxidation of conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) and may therefore be ingested when CLA-containing foodstuff is consumed. Due to the presence of a furan ring structure, furan-FA may have toxic properties, however, these substances are toxicologically not well characterized so far. Here we show that 9,11-furan-FA, the oxidation product of the major CLA isomer cis-9, trans-11-CLA (c9, t11-CLA), is not toxic to human intestinal Caco-2 cells up to a level of 100 lM. Oil-Red-O staining indicated that 9,11-furan-FA as well as c9, t11-CLA and linoleic acid are taken up by the cells and stored in the form of triglycerides in lipid droplets. Chemical analysis of total cellular lipids revealed that 9,11-furan-FA is partially elongated probably by the enzymatic activity of cellular fatty acid elongases whereas c9, t11-CLA is partially converted to other isomers such as c9, c11-CLA or t9, t11-CLA. In the case of 9,11-furan-FA, there is no indication for any modification or activation of the furan ring system. From these results, we conclude that 9,11-furan-FA has no properties of toxicological relevance at least for Caco-2 cells which serve as a model for enterocytes of the human small intestine.