Peroxisomal fatty acid β-oxidation in HepG2 cells

Paul A. Watkins, Edward V. Ferrell, Jan I. Pedersen, Gerald Hoefler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


HepG2 cells, originally derived from a human hepatoblastoma, contain peroxisomes which could be separated from mitochondria and other subcellular organelles by density gradient centrifugation. To determine whether this cell line was a suitable model for human peroxisomal fatty acid β-oxidation, we investigated the ability of these cells to catabolize very-long-chain fatty acids (VLCFA). HepG2 cell homogenates or digitonindisrupted cells oxidized both long chain fatty acids and VLCFA, although at somewhat lower rates than human liver homogenates. β-Oxidation of VLCFA was observed in both peroxisomes and mitochondria of HepG2 cells. Peroxisomal β-oxidation was independent of carnitine, insensitive to antimycin A and rotenone, and not blocked by an inhibitor of carnitine palmitoyl transferase I. HepG2 peroxisomes contained immunoreactive acyl-CoA oxidase, the first enzyme unique to the peroxisomal β-oxidation pathway. In addition, HepG2 peroxisomes contained VLCFA-CoA synthetase activity. These results suggest that HepG2 may be a useful model system for the study of human peroxisomal metabolic processes, including β-oxidation of fatty acids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)329-336
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Biochemistry and Biophysics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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