Uptake and Metabolism of the Short-Chain Fatty Acid Butyrate, a Critical Review of the Literature
Stuart M. Astbury and Bernard M. Corfe
Affiliation: Molecular Gastroenterology Research Group, Academic Unit of Surgical Oncology, Department of Oncology, University of Sheffield, Beech Hill Road, Sheffield, S10 2JF, UK.
Keywords: Butyrate, short-chain fatty acids, beta-oxidation, transport, HDAC inhibition, butanoate, permeability
Butyrate is a short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) formed by bacterial fermentation of fibre in the colon, and serves as anenergy
source for colonocytes. The action of butyrate as a histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDACi) has led to a number of clinical trials testing its
effectiveness as a potential treatment for cancer. The biology of butyrate transport is therefore relevant to both its physiological and
pharmacological benefits. This review of the literature was carried out to assess the evidence for both the uptake and metabolism of butyrate,
in an attempt to determine possible mechanism(s) by which butyrate can act as an HDACi. It is noted that although uptake and
metabolism are well characterised, there are still significant gaps in the knowledgebase around the intracellular handing of butyrate,
where assumptions or dated evidence are relied upon.
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