In several human and animal studies, medium-chain triglycerides decreased food intake more than did long-chain triglycerides. It is possible that faster uptake and metabolism of medium-chain fatty acids in the liver is responsible for this difference. To test this hypothesis we compared the feeding effects of hepatic portal vein (HPV) infusion of the medium-chain fatty acid caprylic acid (CA) with those of the long-chain fatty acid oleic acid (OA). Contrary to our expectation, six-h HPV infusion of 14 mu g/min (50 nmol/min) OA robustly inhibited feeding, whereas infusion of 22 or 220 mu g/min (150 and 1500 nmol/min) CA failed to have any effect on feeding. Only a much larger dose of CA, 1100 mu g/min (7500 nmol/ min) inhibited feeding similarly to 14 mu g/min OA. The increased feeding-inhibitory potency of OA did not appear to be due to differences in stimulation of hepatic fatty acid oxidation because equimolar (50 nmol/min) doses of OA (14 mu g/min) and CA (7 mu g/min) did not differentially affect post-infusion levels of beta-hydroxybutyrate. Stress, inflammation, acute hepatotoxicity or oxidative stress also do not appear to account for the increased feeding-inhibitory potency of HPV OA because plasma concentrations of the stress hormones corticosterone and epinephrine, the pro-inflammatory cytokines interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha, the liver enzymes gamma-glutamyl transferase and alanine aminotransferase and as well as hepatic levels of malondialdehyde and glutathione were all similar after HPV infusion of saline or of 50 nmol/min OA or CA. (c) 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.