Decreased tissue levels of n-3 (omega-3) fatty acids, particularly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are implicated in the etiologies of non-puerperal and postpartum depression. This study examined the effects of a diet-induced loss of brain DHA content and concurrent reproductive status on dopaminergic parameters in adult female Long–Evans rats. An α-linolenic acid-deficient diet and breeding protocols were used to produce virgin and parous female rats with cortical phospholipid DHA levels 20–22% lower than those fed a control diet containing adequate α-linolenic acid. Decreased brain DHA produced a significant main effect of decreased density of ventral striatal D2-like receptors. Virgin females with decreased DHA also exhibited higher density of D1-like receptors in the caudate nucleus than virgin females with normal DHA. These receptor alterations are similar to those found in several rodent models of depression, and are consistent with the proposed hypodopaminergic basis for anhedonia and motivational deficits in depression.
omega-3; polyunsaturated fatty acid; dopamine receptor; postpartum; docosahexaenoic acid; rat
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is required for normal brain function. The concentration of DHA in the brain depends on both diet and liver metabolism.
To determine rat brain DHA concentration and consumption in relation to dietary n-3 (omega-3) polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) content and liver secretion of DHA derived from circulating α-linolenic acid (α-LNA).
Following weaning, male rats were fed for 15 weeks either: (1) a diet with a high DHA and α-LNA content, (2) an n-3 PUFA “adequate” diet containing 4.6% α-LNA but no DHA, or (3) an n-3 PUFA “deficient” diet containing 0.2% α-LNA and no DHA. Brain DHA consumption rates were measured following intravenous infusion in unanesthetized rats of [1-14C]DHA, whereas liver and brain DHA synthesis rates were measured by infusing [1-14C]α-LNA.
Brain DHA concentrations equaled 17.6 μm/g, 11.4 μm/g and 7.14 μm/g in rats on diets 1, 2 and 3, respectively. With each diet, the rate of brain DHA synthesis from α-LNA was much less than the brain DHA consumption rate, whereas the liver synthesis-secretion rate was 5-10 fold higher. Higher elongase 2 and 5 and desaturase Δ5 and Δ6 activities in liver than in brain accounted for the higher liver DHA synthesis rates; these enzymes were transcriptionally upregulated in liver but not in brain of rats fed the deficient diet.
While DHA is essential to normal brain function, this need might be covered by dietary α-LNA when liver metabolic conversion machinery is intact and the diet has a high α-LNA content.
docosahexaenoic acid; liver; brain; rat; n-3; omega-3; PUFA; imaging; metabolism; diet; synthesis; α-linolenic acid
Bioactivities of Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) depend on their chemical forms. The present study was to investigate short term effects of triglyceride (TG), ethyl ester (EE), free fatty acid (FFA) and phospholipid (PL) forms of omega-3 fatty acid (FA) on lipid metabolism in mice, fed high fat or low fat diet.
Male Balb/c mice were fed with 0.7% different Omega-3 fatty acid formulation: DHA bound free fatty acid (DHA-FFA), DHA bound triglyceride (DHA-TG), DHA bound ethyl ester (DHA-EE) and DHA bound phospholipid (DHA-PL) for 1 week, with dietary fat levels at 5% and 22.5%. Serum and hepatic lipid concentrations were analyzed, as well as the fatty acid composition of liver and brain.
At low fat level, serum total cholesterol (TC) level in mice fed diets with DHA-FFA, DHA-EE and DHA-PL were significantly lower than that in the control group (P < 0.05). Hepatic TG level decreased significantly in mice fed diets with DHA-TG (P < 0.05), DHA-EE (P < 0.05) and DHA-PL (P < 0.05), while TC level in liver was significantly lower in mice fed diets with TG and EE compared with the control group (P < 0.05). At high fat level, mice fed diets with DHA-EE and DHA-PL had significantly lower hepatic TC level compared with the control diet (P < 0.05). Hepatic PL concentration experienced a significant increase in mice fed the diet with PL at high fat level (P < 0.05). Furthermore, both at low and high fat levels, hepatic DHA level significantly increased and AA level significantly decreased in all forms of DHA groups (P < 0.05), compared to control groups at two different fat levels, respectively. Additionally, cerebral DHA level in mice fed diets with DHA-FFA, DHA-EE and DHA-PL significantly increased compared with the control at high fat level (P < 0.05), but no significant differences were observed among dietary treatments for mice fed diets with low fat level.
The present study suggested that not only total dietary fat content but also the molecular forms of omega-3 fatty acids contributed to lipid metabolism in mice. DHA-PL showed effective bioactivity in decreasing hepatic and serum TC, TG levels and increasing omega-3 concentration in liver and brain.
Omega-3 fatty acid; DHA; EPA; Lipid metabolism; Triglycerides; Ethyl ester; Phospholipids
The two-fold higher prevalence rate of major depression in females may involve vulnerability to omega-3 fatty acid deficiency secondary to a dysregulation in ovarian hormones. However, the role of ovarian hormones in the regulation of brain omega-3 fatty acid composition has not been directly evaluated. Here we determined erythrocyte and regional brain docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3) composition in intact male and female rats, and in chronically ovariectomized (OVX) rats with or without cyclic estradiol treatment (2 μg/4 d). All groups were maintained on diets with or without the DHA precursor alpha-linolenic acid (ALA, 18:3n-3). We report that both male (−21%) and OVX (−19%) rats on ALA+ diet exhibited significantly lower erythrocyte DHA composition relative to female controls. Females on ALA+ diet exhibited lower DHA composition in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) relative males (−5%). OVX rats on ALA+ diet exhibited significantly lower DHA composition in the hippocampus (−6%), but not in the PFC, hypothalamus, or midbrain. Lower erythrocyte and hippocampus DHA composition in OVX rats was not prevented by estrogen replacement. All groups maintained on ALA− diet exhibited significantly lower erythrocyte and regional brain DHA composition relative to groups on ALA+ diet, and these reductions were greater in males but not in OVX rats. These preclinical data corroborate clinical evidence for gender differences in peripheral DHA composition (female>male), demonstrate gender differences in PFC DHA composition (male>female), and support a link between ovarian hormones and erythrocyte and region-specific brain DHA composition.
Omega-3 fatty acids; docosahexaenoic acid; alpha-linolenic acid; ovariectomy; estrogen; prefrontal cortex; hippocampus; hypothalamus; midbrain; gender; rat
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is important for brain function, however, the exact
amount required for the brain is not agreed upon. While it is believed that the
synthesis rate of DHA from α-linolenic acid (ALA) is low, how this
synthesis rate compares with the amount of DHA required to maintain brain DHA
levels is unknown. The objective of this work was to assess whether DHA
synthesis from ALA is sufficient for the brain. To test this, rats consumed a
diet low in n-3 PUFAs, or a diet containing ALA or DHA for 15 weeks. Over the 15
weeks, whole body and brain DHA accretion was measured, while at the end of the
study, whole body DHA synthesis rates, brain gene expression, and DHA uptake
rates were measured. Despite large differences in body DHA accretion, there was
no difference in brain DHA accretion between rats fed ALA and DHA. In rats fed
ALA, DHA synthesis and accretion was 100-fold higher than brain DHA accretion of
rats fed DHA. Also, ALA-fed rats synthesized approximately 3-fold more DHA than
the DHA uptake rate into the brain. This work indicates that DHA synthesis from
ALA may be sufficient to supply the brain.
brain; docosahexaenoic acid; kinetics; a-linolenic-acid; liver; synthesis; conversion
Dietary long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA) are of crucial importance for the development of neural tissues. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of a dietary supplementation in n-3 fatty acids in female rats during gestation and lactation on fatty acid pattern in brain glial cells phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) and phosphatidylserine (PS) in the neonates.
Sprague-Dawley rats were fed during the whole gestation and lactation period with a diet containing either docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 0.55%) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 0.75% of total fatty acids) or α-linolenic acid (ALA, 2.90%). At two weeks of age, gastric content and brain glial cell PE and PS of rat neonates were analyzed for their fatty acid and dimethylacetal (DMA) profile. Data were analyzed by bivariate and multivariate statistics.
In the neonates from the group fed with n-3 LC-PUFA, the DHA level in gastric content (+65%, P < 0.0001) and brain glial cell PE (+18%, P = 0.0001) and PS (+15%, P = 0.0009) were significantly increased compared to the ALA group. The filtered correlation analysis (P < 0.05) underlined that levels of dihomo-γ-linolenic acid (DGLA), DHA and n-3 docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) were negatively correlated with arachidonic acid (ARA) and n-6 DPA in PE of brain glial cells. No significant correlation between n-3 and n-6 LC-PUFA were found in the PS dataset. DMA level in PE was negatively correlated with n-6 DPA. DMA were found to occur in brain glial cell PS fraction; in this class DMA level was correlated negatively with DHA and positively with ARA.
The present study confirms that early supplementation of maternal diet with n-3 fatty acids supplied as LC-PUFA is more efficient in increasing n-3 in brain glial cell PE and PS in the neonate than ALA. Negative correlation between n-6 DPA, a conventional marker of DHA deficiency, and DMA in PE suggests n-6 DPA that potentially be considered as a marker of tissue ethanolamine plasmalogen status. The combination of multivariate and bivariate statistics allowed to underline that the accretion pattern of n-3 LC-PUFA in PE and PS differ.
To investigate the effect of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) without other highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFA) on n-3 and n-6 essential fatty acid (EFA) metabolism and fatty acid composition in mammals, a stable isotope tracer technique was used in adult rats fed diets with or without 1.3% of algal DHA in a base diet containing 15% of linoleic acid and 3% of alpha-linolenic acid over 8 weeks. The rats were administered orally a mixed oil containing 48 mg/kg body weight of deuterated linoleic and alpha-linolenic acids and euthanized at 4, 8, 24, 96, 168, 240, 360 and 600 h after administration of the isotopes. Fatty acid compositions and the concentrations of deuterated precursors and their respective metabolites were determined in rat liver, plasma, heart and brain as a function of time. DHA, docosapentaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid in the n-3 EFA family were significantly increased in all organs tested in the DHA-fed group, ranging from 5 to 200% greater in comparison with the control group. The accumulation of the metabolites, deuterated-DHA and deuterated-docosapentaenoic acid n-6 were greatly decreased by 1.5 to 2.5 fold in the dietary DHA group. In summary, feeding preformed DHA led to a marked increase in n-3 HUFA content of rat organs at the expense of n-6 HUFA and also prevented the accumulation of newly synthesized deuterated end products. This is the first study which has isolated the effects of DHA on the de novo metabolism on both the n-6 and n-3 EFA pathways.
alpha-linolenic acid; linoleic acid; docosahexaenoic acid; docosapentaenoic acid; essential fatty acid; stable isotope; GC/MS; metabolism
A dysregulation in central serotonin neurotransmission and omega-3 fatty acid deficiency have been implicated in the pathophysiology of major depression. To determine the effects of omega-3 fatty acid deficiency on indices of serotonin neurotransmission in the adult rat brain, female rats were fed diets with or without the omega-3 fatty acid precursor α-linolenic acid (ALA) during perinatal (E0–P90), post-weaning (P21–P90), and post-pubescent (P60–130) development. Ovariectomized (OVX) rats and OVX rats with cyclic estrogen treatment were also examined. Serotonin (5-HT) and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) content, and fatty acid composition were determined in the prefrontal cortex (PFC), and tryptophan hydroxylase-2 (TPH-2), serotonin transporter, and 5-HT1A autoreceptor mRNA expression were determined in the midbrain. ALA deficiency during perinatal (−62%, p=0.0001), post-weaning (−34%, p=0.0001), and post-pubertal (−10%, p=0.0001) development resulted in a graded reduction in adult PFC docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3) composition. Relative to controls, perinatal DHA-deficient rats exhibited significantly lower PFC 5-HT content (−65%, p=0.001), significant greater 5-HIAA content (+15%, p=0.046), and a significant greater 5-HIAA/5-HT ratio (+73%, p=0.001). Conversely, post-weaning DHA-deficient rats exhibited significantly greater PFC 5-HT content (+12%, p=0.03), no change in 5-HIAA content, and a significantly smaller 5-HIAA/5-HT ratio (−9%, p=0.01). Post-pubertal DHA-deficient and OXV rats did not exhibit significant alterations in PFC 5-HT or 5-HIAA content. Only perinatal DHA-deficient rats exhibited a significant reduction in midbrain TPH-2 mRNA expression (−29%, p=0.03). These preclinical data support a causal link between perinatal omega-3 fatty acid deficiency and reduced central serotonin synthesis in adult female rats that is independent of ovarian hormones.
Omega-3 fatty acids; docosahexaenoic acid (DHA); 5-HT; 5-HIAA; estrogen; prefrontal cortex; tryptophan hydroxylase-2; serotonin transporter; 5-HT1A; female; rat
Plasma α-linolenic acid (α-LNA, 18:3n-3) or linoleic acid (LA, 18:2n-6) does not contribute significantly to the brain content of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3) or arachidonic acid (AA, 20:4n-6), respectively, and neither DHA nor AA can be synthesized de novo in vertebrate tissue. Therefore, measured rates of incorporation of circulating DHA or AA into brain exactly represent the rates of consumption by brain. Positron emission tomography (PET) has been used to show, based on this information, that the adult human brain consumes AA and DHA at rates of 17.8 and 4.6 mg/day, respectively, and that AA consumption does not change significantly with age. In unanesthetized adult rats fed an n-3 PUFA “adequate” diet containing 4.6% α-LNA (of total fatty acids) as its only n-3 PUFA, the rate of liver synthesis of DHA is more than sufficient to replace maintain brain DHA, whereas the brain’s rate of synthesis is very low and unable to do so. Reducing dietary α-LNA in an DHA-free diet fed to rats leads to upregulation of liver coefficients of α-LNA conversion to DHA and of liver expression of elongases and desaturases that catalyze this conversion. Concurrently, the brain DHA loss slows due to downregulation of several of its DHA-metabolizing enzymes. Dietary α-LNA deficiency also promotes accumulation of brain docosapentaenoic acid (22:5n-6), and upregulates expression of AA-metabolizing enzymes, including cytosolic and secretory phospholipase A2 and cyclooxygenase-2. These changes, plus reduced levels of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB), likely render the brain more vulnerable to neuropathological insults.
docosahexaenoic acid; liver; brain; rat; n-3 PUFAs; imaging; metabolism; phospholipase A2; BDNF; diet; arachidonic acid
It has been demonstrated thatin utero ethanol (EtOH) exposure induces hyperactive behavior and learning disturbances in offspring. In order to investigate the effects of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) on these neurobehavioral dysfunctions of rat pups induced byin utero EtOH exposure, pregnant Wistar rats were divided into four treatment groups depending on the type of oil added to the diet and drinking water as follows; (a) 5% safflower oil with tap water (TW/n-6), (b) 3% safflower oil and 2% DHA with tap water (TW/n-3), (c) 5% safflower oil with 10%-EtOH (ET/n-6), (d) 3% safflower oil and 2% DHA with 10%-EtOH (ET/n-3) at gestational day (GD) 7.
10%-EtOH was administered to dams in ET/n-6 and ET/n-3 groups from GD 7 to the pups’ weaning (postnatal week 4), and all pups were fed with the same diet that was given to their dams during the entire examination period. The open-field test and the water E-maze test were conducted for all pups, and a spontaneous motor activity test and the Sidman electric shock avoidance test were performed for some of male pups. Amounts of monoamine metabolites in striatum were then determined, and fatty acid analyses of total brain lipids were performed.
The male pups in the ET/n-6 group showed significandy more rearing and square-crossing movements in the open-field test, and significandy higher spontaneous motor activity during the dark period in the daily cycle compared to the males in the TW/n-6 group. The male pups in the ET/n-3 group showed fewer of these behaviors in the open-field test compared to the ET/n-6 group males, and a normal pattern of spontaneous motor activity.
Learning disturbance induced byin utero EtOH exposure was not observed in the E-shaped water maze, but was observed in the avoidance rates in the Sidman electric shock avoidance test. However, there was no significant modifying effect of DHA on the avoidance rates in EtOH exposed pups.
The analysis of the fatty acid composition of total lipids in the brains of the pups revealed high levels of DHA in the diet reflected an increased level of brain DHA and caused a decreased level of the brain arachidonic acid. Retroco nversion from DHA to eicosapentaenoic acid was also observed. However, there was no significant effect of DHA on the levels of monoamine metabolites.
These results support the hypothesis that DHA can counteract the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
fetal alcohol effect; docosahexaenoic acid; learning behavior; hyperactive behavior; monoamine metabolites
A growing body of clinical and epidemiological evidence suggests that low dietary intake and/or tissue levels of n-3 (omega-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are associated with postpartum depression. Low tissue levels of n-3 PUFAs, particularly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are reported in patients with either postpartum or nonpuerperal depression. Moreover, the physiological demands of pregnancy and lactation put childbearing women at particular risk of experiencing a loss of DHA from tissues including the brain, especially in individuals with inadequate dietary n-3 PUFA intake or suboptimal metabolic capabilities. Animal studies indicate that decreased brain DHA in postpartum females leads to several depression-associated neurobiological changes including decreased hippocampal brain-derived neurotrophic factor and augmented hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal responses to stress. Taken together, these findings support a role for decreased brain n-3 PUFAs in the multifactorial etiology of depression, particularly postpartum depression. These findings, and their implications for research and clinical practice, are discussed.
Insufficient availability of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) during pre- and neonatal development decreases accretion of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3) in the developing brain. Low tissue levels of DHA are associated with neurodevelopmental disorders including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In this study, 1st-and 2nd-litter male Long-Evans rats were raised from conception on a Control diet containing α-linolenic acid (4.20 g/kg diet), the dietarily essential fatty acid precursor of DHA, or a diet Deficient in α-linolenic acid (0.38 g/kg diet). The Deficient diet resulted in a decrease in brain phospholipid DHA of 48% in 1st-litter pups and 65% in 2nd-litter pups. Activity, habituation, and response to spatial change in a familiar environment were assessed in a single-session behavioral paradigm at postnatal days 28 and 70, inclusive. Activity and habituation varied by age with younger rats exhibiting higher activity, less habituation, and less stimulation of activity induced by spatial novelty. During the first and second exposures to the test chamber, 2nd-litter Deficient pups exhibited higher levels of activity than Control rats or 1st-litter Deficient pups and less habituation during the first exposure, but were not more active after introduction of a novel spatial stimulus. The higher level of activity in a familiar environment, but not after introduction of a novel stimulus is consistent with clinical observations in ADHD. The observation of this effect only in 2nd-litter rats fed the Deficient diet suggests that brain DHA content, rather than dietary n-3 PUFA content, likely underlies these effects.
polyunsaturated fatty acid; omega-3; docosahexaenoic acid; rat; brain; locomotor activity; novelty; habituation; force-plate actometer
Dietary n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) deprivation in rodents reduces brain arachidonic acid (20:4n-6) concentration and 20:4n-6-preferring cytosolic phospholipase A2 (cPLA2-IVA) and cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 expression, while increasing brain docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3) concentration and DHA-selective Ca2+-independent iPLA2-VIA expression. We hypothesized that these changes are accompanied by upregulated brain DHA metabolic rates. Using a fatty acid model, brain DHA concentrations and kinetics were measured in unanesthetized male rats fed, for 15 weeks post-weaning, an n-6 PUFA “adequate” (31.4 wt% linoleic acid) or “deficient” (2.7 wt% linoleic acid) diet, each lacking 20:4n-6 and DHA. [1-14C]DHA was infused intravenously, arterial blood was sampled, and the brain was microwaved at 5 min and analyzed. Rats fed the n-6 PUFA deficient compared with adequate diet had significantly reduced n-6 PUFA concentrations in brain phospholipids but increased eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20:5n-3), docosapentaenoic acidn-3 (DPAn-3, 22:5n-3) and DHA (by 9.4%) concentrations, particularly in ethanolamine glycerophospholipid. Incorporation rates of unesterified DHA from plasma, which represent DHA metabolic loss from brain, were increased 45% in brain phospholipids, as was DHA turnover. Increased DHA metabolism following dietary n-6 PUFA deprivation may increase brain concentrations of antiinflammatory DHA metabolites, which with a reduced brain n-6 PUFA content, likely promote neuroprotection. (199 words)
linoleic acid; arachidonic PUFA; diet; turnover; metabolism; docosahexaenoic; kinetics; brain; alpha-linolenic; rat
The pathology of traumatic brain injury (TBI) is characterized by the decreased capacity of neurons to metabolize energy and sustain synaptic function, likely resulting in cognitive and emotional disorders. Based on the broad nature of the pathology, we have assessed the potential of the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) to counteract the effects of concussive injury on important aspects of neuronal function and cognition. Fluid percussion injury (FPI) or sham injury was performed, and rats were then maintained on a diet high in DHA (1.2% DHA) for 12 days. We found that DHA supplementation, which elevates brain DHA content, normalized levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), synapsin I (Syn-1), cAMP-responsive element-binding protein (CREB), and calcium/calmodulin-dependent kinase II (CaMKII), and improved learning ability in FPI rats. It is known that BDNF facilitates synaptic transmission and learning ability by modulating Syn-I, CREB, and CaMKII signaling. The DHA diet also counteracted the FPI-reduced manganese superoxide dismutase (SOD) and Sir2 (a NAD+-dependent deacetylase). Given the involvement of SOD and Sir2 in promoting metabolic homeostasis, DHA may help the injured brain by providing resistance to oxidative stress. Furthermore, DHA normalized levels of calcium-independent phospholipase A2 (iPLA2) and syntaxin-3, which may help preserve membrane homeostasis and function after FPI. The overall results emphasize the potential of dietary DHA to counteract broad and fundamental aspects of TBI pathology that may translate into preserved cognitive capacity.
brain-derived neurotrophic factor; plasticity; Sir2; superoxide dismutase; traumatic brain injury
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is critical for maintaining normal brain structure and function, and is considered neuroprotective. Its brain concentration depends on dietary DHA content and hepatic conversion from its dietary derived n-3 precursor, α-linolenic acid (α-LNA). We have developed an in vivo method in rats using quantitative autoradiography and intravenously injected radiolabeled DHA to image net incorporation into the brain of unesterified plasma DHA, and showed with this method that the incorporation rate of DHA equals the rate of brain metabolic DHA consumption. The method has been extended for use in humans with positron emission tomography (PET). Furthermore, imaging in unanesthetized rats using DHA incorporation as a biomarker in response to acute N-methyl-D-aspartate administration confirms that regional DHA signaling is independent of extracellular calcium, and likely mediated by a calcium-independent phospholipase A2 (iPLA2). Studies in mice in which iPLA2-VIA (β) was knocked out confirmed that this enzyme is critical for baseline and muscarinic cholinergic signaling involving DHA. Thus, quantitative imaging of DHA incorporation from plasma into brain can be used as an in vivo biomarker of brain DHA metabolism and neurotransmission.
docosahexaenoic acid; PLA2; biomarker; imaging; calcium; PET
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), upon incorporation into tumor tissue, has the potential to sensitize tumors to the effects of chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Although DHA has usually been supplied to tumor tissue in the diet, appropriate dietary conditions required to obtain optimal tumor levels have not been established. Hence, we studied mammary tumor tissue responses in rats fed various durations and doses of DHA. Rats fed a palm-oil enriched diet (diet 0) were switched to diets providing either 0.8 g DHA/d (diet 1) or 1.5 g DHA/d (diet 2). Tumor tissue fatty acid composition was analysed at baseline (diet 0), at weeks 1, 4 and 9 during diet 1 and at week 4 during diet 2. Dietary DHA supplementation differentially increased DHA within phospholipids (PL) and triacylglycerol (TAG) fractions in tumors. DHA level equilibrated between 2 and 4 weeks in PL while DHA increase was more progressive in TAG and did not reach a steady state. A higher dose of DHA further increased DHA content in tumor PL and TAG (P = 0.018 and P < 0.001 respectively). DHA concentration in plasma PL was positively correlated with DHA in tumor PL (r = 0.72; P = 0.0003) and TAG (r = 0.64; P = 0.003). We conclude that dietary DHA supplementation enhances tumor content of DHA in a time- and dose-dependent manner, and that DHA level in plasma PL could be used as a proxy for tumor DHA. These findings have implications for dietary DHA supplementations in cancer patients.
Animals; Carcinoma; chemically induced; metabolism; Dietary Fats; metabolism; Dietary Supplements; Docosahexaenoic Acids; blood; metabolism; Fatty Acids; metabolism; Female; Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental; chemically induced; metabolism; Methylnitrosourea; Phospholipids; metabolism; Rats; Rats, Sprague-Dawley; Tissue Distribution; Triglycerides; metabolism; DHA incorporation; dietary DHA supplementation; mammary tumors; tumor phospholipids; tumor triacylglycerol; plasma phospholipids
Long-chain PUFA (LC-PUFA) are important for fetal and neonatal brain development.
However, their accretion in the brain is compromised during maternal protein restriction.
Hence, we investigated the effect of maternal supplementation with n-3
DHA plus n-6 arachidonic acid (ARA) at a low protein level (9 %) on
offspring brain fatty acid accretion using Wistar rats (nine rats per group) randomly fed
a control (C), a low-protein (LP) or a low-protein DHA + ARA-supplemented (LPS) diet
during gestation and lactation. At birth, pups from the LPS group had the highest brain
DHA and n-3 fatty acid levels (P = 0·001), whereas pups
from the LP group had the highest MUFA (P = 0·05) but the lowest DHA and
total n-3 PUFA levels (P = 0·000). During lactation,
pups from the LPS group accrued significantly more α-linolenic acid
(P = 0·003), EPA (P = 0·02) and DHA
(P = 0·000) in brain lipids than pups from the LP group, whereas brain
lipids of pups from the LP group had markedly increased levels of the n-3
deficiency marker docosapentaenoic acid and n-6:n-3
ratio (P = 0·000). Owing to supplementation, milk from LPS dams had the
highest DHA and ARA, but lower SCFA and medium-chain fatty acids as compared with milk
from C and LP dams during early lactation, but normalised by mid-lactation. To conclude,
adverse effects of restricted maternal protein intake on LC-PUFA accretion in the brain of
offspring were ameliorated by alterations in maternal milk fatty acid profile due to
supplementation. Results underscore the importance of LC-PUFA for protein-deficient
mothers during gestation as well as lactation to achieve the optimum brain LC-PUFA status
Long-chain PUFA; Maternal supplementation; Protein restriction; Brain lipids; Milk lipid composition; ALA, α-linolenic acid; ARA, arachidonic acid; LA, linoleic acid; LC-PUFA, long-chain PUFA; LP, low protein; LPS, low protein DHA + ARA supplemented
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3), an n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) found at high concentrations in brain and retina and critical to their function, can be obtained from fish products or be synthesized from circulating α-linolenic acid (α-LNA, 18:3n-3) mainly in the liver. With aging, liver synthetic enzymes are reported reduced or unchanged in the rat. To test whether liver synthesis-secretion of DHA from α-LNA changes with age, we measured whole-body DHA conversion coefficients and rates in unanesthetized adult male Fischer-344 rats aged 10, 20, or 30 months, fed an eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20:5n-3)- and DHA-containing diet. Unesterified [U- 13 C]α-LNA bound to albumin was infused intravenously for 2 h, while [13 C]-esterified n-3 PUFAs were measured in arterial plasma, as were unlabeled unesterified and esterified PUFA concentrations. Plasma unesterified n-3 PUFA concentrations declined with age, but esterified n-3 PUFA concentrations did not change significantly. Calculated conversion coefficients were not changed significantly with age, whereas synthesis-secretion rates (product of conversion coefficient and unesterified plasma α-LNA concentration) of esterified DHA and n-3 DPA were reduced. Turnovers of esterified n-3 PUFAs in plasma decreased with age, whereas half-lives increased. The results suggest that hepatic capacity to synthesize DHA and other n-3 PUFAs from circulating α-LNA is maintained with age in the rat, but that reduced plasma α-LNA availability reduces net synthesis-secretion. As unesterified plasma DHA is the form that is incorporated preferentially into brain phospholipid, its reduced synthesis may be deleterious to brain function in aged rats.
Liver; Synthesis-secretion rate; Conversion; Aging; Age; Metabolism; Alpha-linolenic acid; n-3 Polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs); Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA); Lipid
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) may be biosynthesized from a precursor α-linolenic acid (LNA) or obtained preformed in the diet. Dams were fed four diets with different levels of the various n-3 fatty acids during pregnancy and lactation, and their offspring were weaned to the same diets: “n-3 Deficient”, containing (as % total fatty acids) 0.07% of LNA; “Low LNA” (0.4%); “High LNA” (4.8%); and a “DHA+EPA” diet, containing 0.4% of LNA, 2% DHA and 2% EPA. Sensorimotor gating was measured by prepulse inhibition (PPI) of the acoustic startle response in C57Bl6 mice. The n-3 Deficient and Low LNA diets caused a substantial deficit in PPI compared to the DHA+EPA diet, whereas the High LNA diet induced a less pronounced, but significant reduction of PPI. These are the first data that demonstrate a deficit in sensorimotor gating in rodents caused by an inadequate amount of the n-3 fatty acids in the diet. Our results differentiate the effects of a High LNA diet from one with added EPA and DHA even though the difference in brain DHA content is only 12% between these dietary groups.
prepulse inhibition; PPI; DHA; n-3 fatty acid deficiency
The omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) have well-characterized effects on inflammation and oxidative stress and may have neuroprotective effects in a number of neurodegenerative conditions including AD. Brain tissue contains large amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are particularly vulnerable to free radical injury.
The present study attempts to examine protective effects of docosahexaenoic acid (100 mg/kg body weight) and on aluminum (100 mg/kg b. wt. of AlCl3) mediated oxidative damage in the cerebellum in male albino rats along with the motor and learning ability and morphological changes.
Twenty four male Rattusnorigious, Wistar strain rats (weight 220 ± 10 grams) were randomly divided into four groups (n = 12) viz. Group 1 served as control treated with normal saline, Group 2 treated with 100mg/kg body weight of DHA, Group three treated with 100 mg/kg body weight of AlCl3 and Group four treated with 100mg AlCl3 + 100 mg DHA for 90 days. Dose was directly introduced into the rat pharynx via a feeding cannula to rats for 90 days. Behavioral tests followed by biochemical analysis was performed.
A significant decrease in the antioxidant status (superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase and glutathione) and increased lipid peroxide levels and protein carbonyl content in aluminum exposed rats was noted. After DHA supplementation these effects were reversed. Moreover, DHA also significantly (p<0.05) prevented aluminum induced dysfunctioning of the motor and learning ability. The light microscopic studies revealed altered Purkinje’s neurons and granular layer. These changes were not seen in the DHA treated rats.
On the basis of our results it may be concluded that Al may be linked with cerebellar degeneration and neuromuscular disorders while DHA helps to prevent these alterations.
Aluminum; Docosahexaenoic acid; Cerebellum; behavioral study
Diet therapy for phenylketonuria (PKU) requires restricted phenylalanine (Phe) intake, with the majority of protein and other nutrients coming from synthetic medical food. The fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is important in brain development and function; however, there are reports of low blood DHA concentrations in people treated for PKU. Although the implications of this low blood DHA are unclear, subtle cognitive deficits have been reported in those treated early and continuously for PKU. For this study, we investigated the relationship between DHA status and cognitive performance in 41 females 12 years and older with PKU. Participants were attending the baseline visit of a research-based camp or a supplementation trial. We assessed the domains of verbal ability, processing speed, and executive function using standardized tests, and the proportions of DHA in plasma and red blood cell (RBC) total lipids using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. Percent plasma and RBC total lipid DHA were significantly lower in the participants compared with laboratory controls (P < .001), and participants consumed no appreciable DHA according to diet records. Plasma and RBC DHA both negatively correlated with plasma Phe (P < .02), and performance on the verbal ability task positively correlated with RBC DHA controlling for plasma Phe (R=.32, P=.03). The relationship between DHA and domains related to verbal ability, such as learning and memory, should be confirmed in a controlled trial. Domains of processing speed and executive function may require a larger sample size to clarify any association with DHA.
The interest in n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) has expanded significantly in the last few years, due to their many positive effects described. Consequently, the interest in fish oil supplementation has also increased, and many different types of fish oil supplements can be found on the market. Also, it is well known that these types of fatty acids are very easily oxidized, and that stability among supplements varies greatly.
Aims of the study
In this pilot study we investigated the effects of two different types of natural fish oils containing different amounts of the n-3 PUFAs eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and antioxidants on plasma and brain fatty acids, blood lipids, vitamin E, and in vivo lipid peroxidation, as well as brain nitric oxide synthase (NOS) activity, an enzyme which has been shown to be important for memory and learning ability.
Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into four groups and fed regular rat chow pellets enriched with 5% (w/w) of butter (control group), a natural fish oil (17.4% EPA and 11.7% DHA, referred to as EPA-rich), and a natural fish oil rich in DHA (7.7% EPA and 28.0% DHA, referred to as DHA-rich). Both of the fish oils were stabilized by a commercial antioxidant protection system (Pufanox®) at production. The fourth group received the same DHA-rich oil, but without Pufanox® stabilization (referred to as unstable). As an index of stability of the oils, their peroxide values were repeatedly measured during 9 weeks. The dietary treatments continued until sacrifice, after 10 days.
Stability of the oils varied greatly. It took the two stabilized oils 9 weeks to reach the same peroxide value as the unstable oil reached after only a few days. Both the stabilized EPA- and DHA-rich diets lowered the triacylglycerols and total cholesterol compared to control (-45%, P < 0.05 and -54%, P < 0.001; -31%, P < 0.05 and -25%, P < 0.01) and so did the unstable oil, but less efficiently. Only the unstable oil increased in vivo lipid peroxidation significantly compared to control (+40%, P < 0.001). Most of the fatty acids in the plasma phospholipids were significantly affected by both the EPA- and DHA-rich diets compared to control, reflecting their specific fatty acid pattern. The unstable oil diet resulted in smaller changes, especially in n-3 PUFAs. In the brain phospholipids the changes were less pronounced, and only the diet enriched with the stabilized DHA-rich oil resulted in a significantly greater incorporation of DHA (+13%, P < 0.01), as well as total n-3 PUFAs (+13%, P < 0.01) compared to control. Only the stabilized DHA-rich oil increased the brain NOS activity (+33%, P < 0.01).
Both the EPA- and DHA-rich diets affected the blood lipids in a similarly positive manner, and they both had a large impact on plasma phospholipid fatty acids. It was only the unstable oil that increased in vivo lipid peroxidation. However, the intake of DHA was more important than that of EPA for brain phospholipid DHA enrichment and brain NOS activity, and the stability of the fish oil was also important for these effects.
Antioxidants; brain; DHA; EPA; fish oil; lipid peroxidation; nitric oxide synthase
Purpose of review
With important effects on neuronal lipid composition, neurochemical signaling and cerebrovascular pathobiology, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid, may emerge as a neuroprotective agent against cerebrovascular disease. This paper examines pathways for DHA accretion in brain and evidence for possible roles of DHA in prophylactic and therapeutic approaches for cerebrovascular disease.
DHA is a major n-3 fatty acid in the mammalian central nervous system and enhances synaptic activities in neuronal cells. DHA can be obtained through diet or to a limited extent via conversion from its precursor, α-linolenic acid (α-LNA). DHA attenuates brain necrosis after hypoxic ischemic injury, principally by modulating membrane biophysical properties and maintaining integrity in functions between pre-and post-synaptic areas, resulting in better stabilizing intracellular ion balance in hypoxic-ischemic insult. Additionally, DHA alleviates brain apoptosis, by inducing anti-apoptotic activities such as decreasing responses to reactive oxygen species, up-regulating anti-apoptotic protein expression, down-regulating apoptotic protein expression, and maintaining mitochondrial integrity and function.
DHA in brain relates to a number of efficient delivery and accretion pathways. In animal models DHA renders neuroprotection after hypoxic-ischemic injury by regulating multiple molecular pathways and gene expression.
Docosahexaenoic acid; omega 3; polyunsaturated fatty acid; neuroprotection; hypoxic-ischemic brain
Knowing threshold changes in brain lipids and lipid enzymes during dietary n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid deprivation may elucidate dietary regulation of brain lipid metabolism. To determine thresholds, rats were fed for 15 weeks DHA-free diets having graded reductions of α-linolenic acid (α-LNA). Compared with control diet (4.6% α-LNA), plasma DHA fell significantly at 1.7% dietary α-LNA while brain DHA remained unchanged down to 0.8% α-LNA, when plasma and brain docosapentaenoic acid (DPAn-6) were increased and DHA-selective iPLA2 and COX-1 activities were downregulated. Brain AA was unchanged by deprivation, but AA selective-cPLA2, sPLA2 and COX-2 activities were increased at or below 0.8% dietary α-LNA, possibly in response to elevated brain DPAn-6. In summary, homeostatic mechanisms appear to maintain a control brain DHA concentration down to 0.8% dietary DHA despite reduced plasma DHA, when DPAn-6 replaces DHA. At extreme deprivation, decreased brain iPLA2 and COX-1 activities may reduce brain DHA loss.
n-3 PUFA deprivation; rat brain; phospholipase A2; docosapentaenoic acid
Epidemiological and clinical trial findings suggest that consumption of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) lowers the risk of Alzhemier’s disease (AD). We examined the effects of short-term (3 months) DHA enriched diet on plaque deposition and synaptic deficts in forebrain of young APPswe/PS1ΔE9 transgenic (tg) and non-transgenic (ntg) mice. Gas chromatography revealed a significant increase in DHA concomitant with a decrease of arachidonic acid in both brain and liver in mice fed with DHA. Female tg mice consumed relatively more food daily than ntg female mice, independent of diet. Plaque load was significantly reduced in the cortex, ventral hippocampus and striatum of female APPswe/PS1ΔE9 tg mice on DHA diet compared to female tg mice on control diet. LR11 levels were unchanged in mice on DHA. Moreover drebrin levels were significantly increased in the hippocampus of tg mice on the DHA diet. Finally, in vitro DHA treatment prevented amyloid toxicity in cell cultures. Our findings support the concept that increased DHA consumption may play and important role in preventing brain insults in AD.
n-3 fatty acids; Alzheimer’s disease; amyloid; transgenics; drebrin