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
Dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), in particular the long chain marine fatty acids docosahexaenoic (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic (EPA), are linked to many health benefits in humans and in animal models. Little is known of the molecular response to DHA and EPA of the small intestine, and the potential contribution of this organ to the beneficial effects of these fatty acids. Here, we assessed gene expression changes induced by DHA and EPA in the wildtype C57BL/6J murine small intestine using whole genome microarrays and functionally characterized the most prominent biological process.
The main biological process affected based on gene expression analysis was lipid metabolism. Fatty acid uptake, peroxisomal and mitochondrial beta-oxidation, and omega-oxidation of fatty acids were all increased. Quantitative real time PCR, and -in a second animal experiment- intestinal fatty acid oxidation measurements confirmed significant gene expression differences and showed in a dose-dependent manner significant changes at biological functional level. Furthermore, no major changes in the expression of lipid metabolism genes were observed in the colon.
We show that marine n-3 fatty acids regulate small intestinal gene expression and increase fatty acid oxidation. Since this organ contributes significantly to whole organism energy use, this effect on the small intestine may well contribute to the beneficial physiological effects of marine PUFAs under conditions that will normally lead to development of obesity, insulin resistance and diabetes.
We reported that reduced dietary intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) such as arachidonic (AA,20:4n6, omega-6) and docosahexaenoic (DHA,22:6n3, omega-3) acids led to alcohol-induced fatty liver and fibrosis. This study was aimed at studying the mechanisms by which a DHA/AA-supplemented diet prevents alcohol-induced fatty liver.
Male Long-Evans rats were fed an ethanol or control liquid-diet with or without DHA/AA for 9 weeks. Plasma transaminase levels, liver histology, oxidative/nitrosative stress markers, and activities of oxidatively-modified mitochondrial proteins were evaluated.
Chronic alcohol administration increased the degree of fatty liver but fatty liver decreased significantly in rats fed the alcohol-DHA/AA-supplemented diet. Alcohol exposure increased oxidative/nitrosative stress with elevated levels of ethanol-inducible CYP2E1, nitric oxide synthase, nitrite and mitochondrial hydrogen peroxide. However, these increments were normalized in rats fed the alcohol-DHA/AA-supplemented diet. The number of oxidatively-modified mitochondrial proteins was markedly increased following alcohol exposure but significantly reduced in rats fed the alcohol-DHA/AA-supplemented diet. The suppressed activities of mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase, ATP synthase, and 3-ketoacyl-CoA thiolase in ethanol-exposed rats were also recovered in animals fed the ethanol-DHA/AA-supplemented diet.
Addition of DHA/AA prevents alcohol-induced fatty liver and mitochondrial dysfunction in an animal model by protecting various mitochondrial enzymes most likely through reducing oxidative/nitrosative stress.
Alcoholic fatty liver; polyunsaturated fatty acids; Long-Evans rat; Oxidative/nitrosative stress; Protein oxidation; β-oxidation of fatty acids; Mitochondrial dysfunction
Dietary very long chain omega (ω)-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) have been associated with reduced CVD risk, the mechanisms of which have yet to be fully elucidated. LDL receptor null mice (LDLr-/-) were used to assess the effect of different ratios of dietary ω-6 PUFA to eicosapentaenoic acid plus docosahexaenoic acid (ω-6:EPA+DHA) on atherogenesis and inflammatory response. Mice were fed high saturated fat diets without EPA and DHA (HSF ω-6), or with ω-6:EPA+DHA at ratios of 20:1 (HSF R=20:1), 4:1 (HSF R=4:1), and 1:1 (HSF R=1:1) for 32 weeks. Mice fed the lowest ω-6:EPA+DHA ratio diet had lower circulating concentrations of non-HDL cholesterol (25%, P<0.05) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) (44%, P<0.05) compared to mice fed the HSF ω-6 diet. Aortic and elicited peritoneal macrophage (Mϕ) total cholesterol were 24% (P=0.07) and 25% (P<0.05) lower, respectively, in HSF R=1:1 compared to HSF ω-6 fed mice. MCP-1 mRNA levels and secretion were 37% (P<0.05) and 38% (P<0.05) lower, respectively, in elicited peritoneal Mϕ isolated from HSF R=1:1 compared to HSF ω-6 fed mice. mRNA and protein levels of ATP-binding cassette A1, and mRNA levels of TNFα were significantly lower in elicited peritoneal Mϕ isolated from HSF R=1:1 fed mice, whereas there was no significant effect of diets with different ω-6:EPA+DHA ratios on CD36, Mϕ scavenger receptor 1, scavenger receptor B1 and IL-6 mRNA or protein levels. These data suggest that lower ω-6:EPA+DHA ratio diets lowered some measures of inflammation and Mϕ cholesterol accumulation, which was associated with less aortic lesion formation in LDLr-/- mice.
ω-6:EPA+DHA ratio; ω-3 fatty acids; atherosclerosis; inflammation; macrophage cholesterol accumulation; LDLr-/- mouse; diet; elicited peritoneal Mϕ
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.
Macrophages play a key role in obesity-induced inflammation. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (ω-3 PUFAs) eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) exert anti-inflammatory functions in both humans and animal models, but the exact cellular signals mediating the beneficial effects are not completely understood. We previously found that two nutrient sensors AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and SIRT1 interact to regulate macrophage inflammation. Here we aim to determine whether ω-3 PUFAs antagonize macrophage inflammation via activation of AMPK/SIRT1 pathway. Treatment of ω-3 PUFAs suppresses lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced cytokine expression in macrophages. Luciferase reporter assays, electrophoretic mobility shift assays (EMSA) and Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays show that treatment of macrophages with ω-3 PUFAs significantly inhibits LPS-induced NF-κB signaling. Interestingly, DHA also increases expression, phosphorylation and activity of the major isoform α1AMPK, which further leads to SIRT1 over-expression. More importantly, DHA mimics the effect of SIRT1 on deacetylation of the NF-κB subunit p65, and the ability of DHA to deacetylate p65 and inhibit its signaling and downstream cytokine expression require SIRT1. In conclusion, ω-3 PUFAs negatively regulate macrophage inflammation by deacetylating NF-κB, which acts through activation of AMPK/SIRT1 pathway. Our study defines AMPK/SIRT1 as a novel cellular mediator for the anti-inflammatory effects of ω-3 PUFAs.
Long chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC n-3 PUFAs) are recommended for management of patients with wide-ranging chronic diseases, including coronary heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, dementia, and depression. Increased consumption of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is recommended by many health authorities to prevent (up to 0.5 g/day) or treat chronic disease (1.0 g/day for coronary heart disease; 1.2–4 g/day for elevated triglyceride levels). Recommendations for dietary intake of LC n-3 PUFAs are often provided for α-linolenic acid, and for the combination of EPA and DHA. However, many studies have also reported differential effects of EPA, DHA and their metabolites in the clinic and at the laboratory bench. The aim of this article is to review studies that have identified divergent responses to EPA and DHA, and to explore reasons for these differences. In particular, we review potential contributing factors such as differential membrane incorporation, modulation of gene expression, activation of signaling pathways and metabolite formation. We suggest that there may be future opportunity to refine recommendations for intake of individual LC n-3 PUFAs.
LC n-3 PUFAs; omega-3 fatty acids; eicosapentaenoic acid; docosahexaenoic acid; resolvin D1; differential response; omega-3 fatty acid metabolites
Regular consumption of food enriched in omega3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (ω3 PUFAs) has been shown to reduce risk of cognitive decline in elderly, and possibly development of Alzheimer's disease. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are the most likely active components of ω3-rich PUFAs diets in the brain. We therefore hypothesized that exposing mice to a DHA and EPA enriched diet may reduce neuroinflammation and protect against memory impairment in aged mice. For this purpose, mice were exposed to a control diet throughout life and were further submitted to a diet enriched in EPA and DHA during 2 additional months. Cytokine expression together with a thorough analysis of astrocytes morphology assessed by a 3D reconstruction was measured in the hippocampus of young (3-month-old) and aged (22-month-old) mice. In addition, the effects of EPA and DHA on spatial memory and associated Fos activation in the hippocampus were assessed. We showed that a 2-month EPA/DHA treatment increased these long-chain ω3 PUFAs in the brain, prevented cytokines expression and astrocytes morphology changes in the hippocampus and restored spatial memory deficits and Fos-associated activation in the hippocampus of aged mice. Collectively, these data indicated that diet-induced accumulation of EPA and DHA in the brain protects against neuroinflammation and cognitive impairment linked to aging, further reinforcing the idea that increased EPA and DHA intake may provide protection to the brain of aged subjects.
Dietary fatty acids may modulate inflammation in macrophages of the atherosclerotic plaque, affecting its stability. The n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) arachidonic acid (AA) generally promotes inflammation, while the PUFAs of the n-3 series eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are considered anti-inflammatory. We determined how these PUFAs influence MMP-9 expression and secretion by the human monocytic cell line (MonoMac 6) at baseline and after 24-hour exposure. MMP-9 protein was measured by zymography and relative levels of MMP-9 mRNA were determined using quantitative real time PCR.
Supplementation with AA (but not the n-3 fatty acids) increased, in a dose-dependent manner, expression of MMP-9 protein. This stimulation was regulated at the mRNA level. MMP-9 secretion started after 1 h of incubation and could not be prevented by simultaneous presence of n-3 series fatty acids. Finally, the secretion could be attenuated by LY 294002, a specific phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitor and by SH-5, a selective Akt inhibitor, suggesting that activation of PI3K by AA leads to augmented and sustained MMP-9 production.
This study shows that of the PUFA studied, AA alone influences the expression of MMP-9, which might have implications in MMP-9 induced plaque rupture.
Accumulating evidence suggests that the pathophysiology of depression might be associated with neuroinflammation, which could be attenuated by pharmacological treatment for depression. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are anti-inflammatory and exert antidepressant effects. The aim of this study was to identify the molecular mechanisms through which docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the main omega-3 PUFA in the brain, modulates oxidative reactions and inflammatory cytokine production in microglial and neuronal cells. The results of this study showed that DHA reduced expressions of tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin-6, nitric oxide synthase, and cyclo-oxygenase-2, induced by interferon-γ, and induced upregulation of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) in BV-2 microglia. The inhibitory effect of DHA on nitric oxide production was abolished by HO-1 inhibitor zinc protoporphyrin IX. In addition, DHA caused AKT and ERK activation in a time-dependent manner, and the DHA-induced HO-1 upregulation could be attenuated by PI-3 kinase/AKT and MEK/ERK inhibitors. DHA also increased IKKα/β phosphorylation, IκBα phosphorylation, and IκBα degradation, whereas both nuclear factor-κB and IκB protease inhibitors could inhibit DHA-induced HO-1 expressions. The other major n-3 PUFA, eicosapentaenoic acid, showed similar effects of DHA on inflammation and HO-1 in repeated key experiments. In connecting with inflammation hypothesis of depression and clinical studies supporting the antidepressant effects of omega-3 PUFAs, this study provides a novel implication of the antidepressant mechanisms of DHA.
omega-3 fatty acids; docosahexaenoic acid (DHA); heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1); antidepressant; microglia; inflammation; biological psychiatry; depression, unipolar/bipolar; molecular & cellular neurobiology; psychopharmacology; omega-3 fatty acids; docosahexaenoic acid (DHA); heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1); antidepressant; microglia, inflammation
Fatty acid metabolism is altered in colorectal cancer (CRC). We aimed to investigate incorporation of dietary n-6 and n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) into plasma phospholipids (PLs), tumour tissue, and normal mucosa in young CRC patients. We also aimed to study differences in PUFA composition between tumour and normal mucosa, and PUFA status associated with cancer stage. Sixty-five CRC patients younger than 55 years were included in a multicenter study. We assessed dietary fatty acid composition by food-frequency questionnaire. Fatty acid composition in plasma PL (n = 65) and tumour and normal colonic biopsies (n = 32) were analysed by gas chromatography. We observed a significant correlation for docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) between dietary intake and concentration in plasma PL (weight%) (r = 0.42; P = 0.001), but not for any n-6 PUFA. Tissue concentrations of arachidonic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid, and DHA (weight%) were 1.7–2.5 times higher in tumour than normal mucosa (P ≤ 0.001). Concentrations of n-3 and n-6 PUFA in plasma PL and tissues were not related to Duke's stage, although patients with more severe cancer stage reported higher intake of n-3 PUFA. In conclusion, we found accumulation of the long-chained n-3 and n-6 PUFA in tumour tissue in young CRC patients.
Dietary intake of long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA) has been reported to decrease several markers of lymphocyte activation and modulate monocyte susceptibility to apoptosis. However most human studies examined the combined effect of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) using relatively high daily amounts of n-3 PUFA. The present study investigated the effects of increasing doses of DHA added to the regular diet of human healthy volunteers on lymphocyte response to tetradecanoylphorbol acetate (TPA) plus ionomycin activation, and on monocyte apoptosis induced by oxidized LDL (oxLDL). Eight subjects were supplemented with increasing daily doses of DHA (200, 400, 800 and 1600mg) in a triacylglycerol form containing DHA as the only PUFA, for two weeks each dose. DHA intake dose-dependently increased the proportion of DHA in mononuclear cell phospholipids, the augmentation being significant after 400mg DHA/day. The TPA plus ionomycin-stimulated IL-2 mRNA level started to increase after ingestion of 400mg DHA/day, with a maximum after 800mg intake, and was positively correlated (P<0.003) with DHA enrichment in cell phospholipids. The treatment of monocytes by oxLDL before DHA supplementation drastically reduced mitochondrial membrane potential as compared with native LDL treatment. OxLDL apoptotic effect was significantly attenuated after 400mg DHA/day and the protective effect was maintained throughout the experiment, although to a lesser extent at higher doses. The present results show that supplementation of the human diet with low DHA dosages improves lymphocyte activability. It also increases monocyte resistance to oxLDL-induced apoptosis, which may be beneficial in the prevention of atherosclerosis.
DHA enrichment; interleukin-2; mitochondrial membrane potential; oxidized LDL
Numerous studies on perinatal long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid nutrition have clarified the influence of dietary docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (ARA) on central nervous system PUFA concentrations. In humans, omnivorous primates, and piglets, DHA and ARA plasma and red blood cells concentrations rise with dietary preformed DHA and ARA. Brain and retina DHA are responsive to diet while ARA is not. DHA is at highest concentration cells and tissues associated with high energy consumption, consistent with high DHA levels in mitochondria and synaptosomes. DHA is a substrate for docosanoids, signaling compounds of intense current interest. The high concentration in tissues with high rates of oxidative metabolism may be explained by a critical role related to oxidative metabolism.
Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids [ω-3 PUFAs, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)] from fish oil ameliorate cardiovascular diseases. However, little is known about the effects of ω-3 PUFAs on cardiac fibrosis, a major cause of diastolic dysfunction and heart failure. The current study assessed the effects of ω-3 PUFAs on cardiac fibrosis.
Methods and Results
We assessed left ventricular (LV) fibrosis and pathology in mice subjected to transverse aortic constriction (TAC) subsequent to the consumption of a fish oil or a control diet. In control mice, four weeks of TAC induced significant cardiac dysfunction, cardiac fibrosis and cardiac fibroblast activation (proliferation and transformation into myofibroblasts). Dietary supplementation with fish oil prevented TAC-induced cardiac dysfunction and cardiac fibrosis, and blocked cardiac fibroblast activation. In heart tissue, TAC increased active TGF-β1 levels and phosphorylation of Smad2. In isolated adult mouse cardiac fibroblasts, TGF-β1 induced cardiac fibroblast transformation, proliferation, and collagen synthesis. EPA and DHA increased cGMP levels and blocked cardiac fibroblast transformation, proliferation, and collagen synthesis. EPA and DHA blocked phospho-Smad2/3 nuclear translocation. DT3, a PKG inhibitor, blocked the anti-fibrotic effects of EPA and DHA. EPA and DHA increased phospho-eNOS and eNOS protein levels and nitric oxide production.
ω-3 fatty acids prevent cardiac fibrosis and cardiac dysfunction by blocking TGF-β1-induced phospho-Smad2/3 nuclear translocation through activation of the cGMP/PKG pathway in cardiac fibroblasts.
transverse aortic constriction; ω-3 fatty acids; cardiac fibrosis; cGMP/PKG
Evidence indicates that diets enriched in n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) reduce the risk of prostate cancer, but biochemical mechanisms are unclear. Syndecan-1 (SDC-1), a transmembrane heparan sulfate proteoglycan, supports the integrity of the epithelial compartment. In tumor cells of epithelial lineage, SDC-1 is generally downregulated. This may result in perturbation of homeostasis and lead to progression of malignancy. Our studies have shown that the n-3 PUFA species, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), increases SDC-1 expression in prostate tissues of Pten knockout (PtenP-/-) mice/cells and human prostate cancer cells. We have now determined that DHA-mediated up-regulation of SDC-1 induces apoptosis. Bovine serum albumin-bound DHA and exogenous human recombinant SDC-1 ecotodomain were delivered to PC3 and LNCaP cells in the presence or absence of SDC-1 small interfering (si)RNA. In the presence of control siRNA, both DHA and SDC-1 ectodomain induced apoptosis, whereas SDC-1 silencing blocked DHA-induced but not SDC-1 ectodomain-induced apoptosis. Downstream effectors of SDC-1 signaling linked to n-3 PUFA-induced apoptosis involved the 3′-phosphoinositide-dependent kinase 1 (PDK1)/Akt/Bad integrating network. A diet enriched in n-3 PUFA decreased phosphorylation of PDK1, Akt (T308), and Bad in prostates of PtenP-/- mice. Similar results were observed in human prostate cancer cells in response to DHA and SDC-1 ectodomain. The effect of DHA on PDK1/Akt/Bad signaling was abrogated by SDC-1 siRNA. These findings define a mechanism by which SDC-1-dependent suppression of phosphorylation of PDK1/Akt/Bad mediates n-3 PUFA-induced apoptosis in prostate cancer.
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
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
Clinical studies suggest that intake of ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (ω-3 PUFA) may lower the incidence of heart failure. Dietary supplementation with ω-3 PUFA exerts metabolic and anti-inflammatory effects that could prevent left ventricle (LV) pathology; however, it is unclear whether these effects occur at clinically relevant doses and whether there are differences between ω-3 PUFA from fish [eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)] and vegetable sources [α-linolenic acid (ALA)].
Methods and results
We assessed the development of LV remodelling and pathology in rats subjected to aortic banding treated with ω-3 PUFA over a dose range that spanned the intake of humans taking ω-3 PUFA supplements. Rats were fed a standard food or diets supplemented with EPA+DHA or ALA at 0.7, 2.3, or 7% of energy intake. Without supplementation, aortic banding increased LV mass and end-systolic and -diastolic volumes. ALA supplementation had little effect on LV remodelling and dysfunction. In contrast, EPA+DHA dose-dependently increased EPA and DHA, decreased arachidonic acid in cardiac membrane phospholipids, and prevented the increase in LV end-diastolic and -systolic volumes. EPA+DHA resulted in a dose-dependent increase in the anti-inflammatory adipokine adiponectin, and there was a strong correlation between the prevention of LV chamber enlargement and plasma levels of adiponectin (r = −0.78). Supplementation with EPA+DHA had anti-aggregatory and anti-inflammatory effects as evidenced by decreases in urinary thromboxane B2 and serum tumour necrosis factor-α.
Dietary supplementation with ω-3 PUFA derived from fish, but not from vegetable sources, increased plasma adiponectin, suppressed inflammation, and prevented cardiac remodelling and dysfunction under pressure overload conditions.
α-linolenic acid; Diet; Docosahexaenoic acid; Eicosapentaenoic acid; Heart failure
The poorly understood mechanism by which ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) reduce the severity of ocular vasoproliferative disorders was investigated. The authors demonstrate that ω-3 PUFAs, in particular docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), can improve the nitroso-redox balance by modulating the production of nitric oxide and superoxide. In addition, they provide evidence that ω-3 PUFAs also blunt growth factor signaling and displace eNOS from caveolae microdomains. Results suggests a dual benefit of ω-3 PUFAs in the treatment of ocular diseases by maintaining the prosurvival effects of NO in the early degenerative phase of ischemic retinopathies and reducing the severity of VEGF-mediated signaling in the late proliferative phase.
Disturbances to the cellular production of nitric oxide (NO) and superoxide (O2−) can have deleterious effects on retinal vascular integrity and angiogenic signaling. Dietary agents that could modulate the production of these signaling molecules from their likely enzymatic sources, endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) and NADPH oxidase, would therefore have a major beneficial effect on retinal vascular disease. The effect of ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) on angiogenic signaling and NO/superoxide production in retinal microvascular endothelial cells (RMECs) was investigated.
Primary RMECs were treated with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) or eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) for 48 hours. RMEC migration was determined by scratch-wound assay, proliferation by the incorporation of BrdU, and angiogenic sprouting using a three-dimensional model of in vitro angiogenesis. NO production was quantified by Griess assay, and phospho-eNOS accumulation and superoxide were measured using the fluorescent probe dihydroethidine. eNOS localization to caveolin-rich microdomains was determined by Western blot analysis after subfractionation on a linear sucrose gradient.
DHA treatment increased nitrite and decreased superoxide production, which correlated with the displacement of eNOS from caveolar subdomains and colocalization with the negative regulator caveolin-1. In addition, both ω-3 PUFAs demonstrated reduced responsiveness to VEGF-stimulated superoxide and nitrite release and significantly impaired endothelial wound healing, proliferation, and angiogenic sprout formation.
DHA improves NO bioavailability, decreases O2− production, and blunts VEGF-mediated angiogenic signaling. These findings suggest a role for ω-3 PUFAs, particularly DHA, in maintaining vascular integrity while reducing pathologic retinal neovascularization.
The inflammatory response is designed to help fight and clear infection, remove harmful chemicals, and repair damaged tissue and organ systems. Although this process, in general, is protective, the failure to resolve the inflammation and return the target tissue to homeostasis can result in disease, including the promotion of cancer. A plethora of published literature supports the contention that dietary n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), and eicosapentaenoic (EPA, 20:5n-3) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3) in particular, are important modulators of a host's inflammatory/immune responses. The following review describes a mechanistic model that may explain, in part, the pleiotropic anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive properties of EPA and DHA. In this review, we focus on salient studies that address three overarching mechanisms of n-3 PUFA action: (i) modulation of nuclear receptor activation, i.e., nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) suppression; (ii) suppression of arachidonic acid–cyclooxygenase-derived eicosanoids, primarily prostaglandin E2-dependent signaling; and (iii) alteration of the plasma membrane micro-organization (lipid rafts), particularly as it relates to the function of Toll-like receptors (TLRs), and T-lymphocyte signaling molecule recruitment to the immunological synapse (IS). We propose that lipid rafts may be targets for the development of n-3 PUFA-containing dietary bioactive agents to down-modulate inflammatory and immune responses and for the treatment of autoimmune and chronic inflammatory diseases.
The polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), arachidonic acid (AA, 20:4n-6) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3), important second messengers in brain, are released from membrane phospholipid following receptor-mediated activation of specific phospholipase A2 (PLA2) enzymes. We developed an in vivo method in rodents using quantitative autoradiography to image PUFA incorporation into brain from plasma, and showed that their incorporation rates equal their rates of metabolic consumption by brain. Thus, quantitative imaging of unesterified plasma AA or DHA incorporation into brain can be used as a biomarker of brain PUFA metabolism and neurotransmission. We have employed our method to image and quantify effects of mood stabilizers on brain AA/DHA incorporation during neurotransmission by muscarinic M1,3,5, serotonergic 5-HT2A/2C, dopaminergic D2-like (D2, D3, D4) or glutamatergic N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) receptors, and effects of inhibition of acetylcholinesterase, of selective serotonin and dopamine reuptake transporter inhibitors, of neuroinflammation (HIV-1 and lipopolysaccharide) and excitotoxicity, and in genetically modified rodents. The method has been extended for the use with positron emission tomography (PET), and can be employed to determine how human brain AA/DHA signaling and consumption are influenced by diet, aging, disease and genetics.
arachidonic acid; bipolar disorder; brain imaging; docosahexaenoic acid; mood stabilizers; neuroinflammation
Niacin, also known as nicotinic acid, is an organic compound that has several cardio-beneficial effects. However, its use is limited due to the induction of a variable flushing response in most individuals. Flushing occurs from a niacin receptor mediated generation of prostaglandins from arachidonic acid metabolism. This study examined the ability of docosahexaenoic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid, and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), to attenuate niacin-induced prostaglandins in THP-1 macrophages. Niacin induced both PGD2 and PGE2 generation in a dose-dependent manner. Niacin also caused an increase in cytosolic calcium and activation of cytosolic phospholipase A2. The increase in PGD2 and PGE2 was reduced by both docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid, but not by oleic acid. Omega-3 PUFAs efficiently incorporated into cellular phospholipids at the expense of arachidonic acid, whereas oleic acid incorporated to a higher extent but had no effect on arachidonic acid levels. Omega-3 PUFAs also reduced surface expression of GPR109A, a human niacin receptor. Furthermore, omega-3 PUFAs also inhibited the niacin-induced increase in cytosolic calcium. Niacin and/or omega-3 PUFAs minimally affected cyclooxygenase-1 activity and had no effect on cyclooxygenase -2 activity. The effects of niacin on PGD2 generation were further confirmed using Langerhans dendritic cells. Results of the present study indicate that omega-3 PUFAs reduced niacin-induced prostaglandins formation by diminishing the availability of their substrate, as well as reducing the surface expression of niacin receptors. In conclusion, this study suggests that the regular use of omega-3 PUFAs along with niacin can potentially reduce the niacin-induced flushing response in sensitive patients.
flushing; prostaglandin E2; phospholipids; GPR109A; cardiovascular; docosahexaenoic acid; arachidonic acid
Long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFAs) are essential for brain structure, development, and function, and adequate dietary quantities of LC-PUFAs are thought to have been necessary for both brain expansion and the increase in brain complexity observed during modern human evolution. Previous studies conducted in largely European populations suggest that humans have limited capacity to synthesize brain LC-PUFAs such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) from plant-based medium chain (MC) PUFAs due to limited desaturase activity. Population-based differences in LC-PUFA levels and their product-to-substrate ratios can, in part, be explained by polymorphisms in the fatty acid desaturase (FADS) gene cluster, which have been associated with increased conversion of MC-PUFAs to LC-PUFAs. Here, we show evidence that these high efficiency converter alleles in the FADS gene cluster were likely driven to near fixation in African populations by positive selection ∼85 kya. We hypothesize that selection at FADS variants, which increase LC-PUFA synthesis from plant-based MC-PUFAs, played an important role in allowing African populations obligatorily tethered to marine sources for LC-PUFAs in isolated geographic regions, to rapidly expand throughout the African continent 60–80 kya.
Folate, vitamin B-12, and vitamin B-6 are essential nutritional components in one-carbon metabolism and are required for methylation capacity. The availability of these vitamins may therefore modify methylation of phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) to phosphatidylcholine (PC) by PE-N-methyltransferase (PEMT) in the liver. It has been suggested that PC synthesis by PEMT plays an important role in the transport of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) like docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) from the liver to plasma and possibly other tissues. We hypothesized that if B-vitamin supplementation enhances PEMT activity, then supplementation could also increase the concentration of plasma levels of PUFAs such as DHA. To test this hypothesis, we determined the effect of varying the combined dietary intake of these three B-vitamins on plasma DHA concentration in rats.
In a first experiment, plasma DHA and plasma homocysteine concentrations were measured in rats that had consumed a B-vitamin-poor diet for 4 weeks after which they were either continued on the B-vitamin-poor diet or switched to a B-vitamin-enriched diet for another 4 weeks. In a second experiment, plasma DHA and plasma homocysteine concentrations were measured in rats after feeding them one of four diets with varying levels of B-vitamins for 4 weeks. The diets provided 0% (poor), 100% (normal), 400% (enriched), and 1600% (high) of the laboratory rodent requirements for each of the three B-vitamins.
Plasma DHA concentration was higher in rats fed the B-vitamin-enriched diet than in rats that were continued on the B-vitamin-poor diet (P = 0.005; experiment A). Varying dietary B-vitamin intake from deficient to supra-physiologic resulted in a non-linear dose-dependent trend for increasing plasma DHA (P = 0.027; experiment B). Plasma DHA was lowest in rats consuming the B-vitamin-poor diet (P > 0.05 vs. normal, P < 0.05 vs. enriched and high) and highest in rats consuming the B-vitamin-high diet (P < 0.05 vs. poor and normal, P > 0.05 vs. enriched). B-vitamin deficiency significantly increased plasma total homocysteine but increasing intake above normal did not significantly reduce it. Nevertheless, in both experiments plasma DHA was inversely correlated with plasma total homocysteine.
These data demonstrate that dietary folate, vitamin B-12, and vitamin B-6 intake can influence plasma concentration of DHA.
B-vitamins; Plasma DHA; Plasma homocysteine; Methylation capacity; Rats
Dietary n−3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have been reported to exhibit antiarrhythmic properties, and these effects have been attributed to their capability to modulate ion channels. In the present review, we will focus on the effects of PUFAs on a cardiac sodium channel (Nav1.5) and two potassium channels involved in cardiac atrial and ventricular repolarization (Kv) (Kv1.5 and Kv11.1). n−3 PUFAs of marine (docosahexaenoic, DHA and eicosapentaenoic acid, EPA) and plant origin (alpha-linolenic acid, ALA) block Kv1.5 and Kv11.1 channels at physiological concentrations. Moreover, DHA and EPA decrease the expression levels of Kv1.5, whereas ALA does not. DHA and EPA also decrease the magnitude of the currents elicited by the activation of Nav1.5 and calcium channels. These effects on sodium and calcium channels should theoretically shorten the cardiac action potential duration (APD), whereas the blocking actions of n−3 PUFAs on Kv channels would be expected to produce a lengthening of cardiac action potential. Indeed, the effects of n−3 PUFAs on the cardiac APD and, therefore, on cardiac arrhythmias vary depending on the method of application, the animal model, and the underlying cardiac pathology.
n−3 PUFAs; atrial fibrillation; arrhythmias; heart failure