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.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is the major polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) in the brain and a structural component of neuronal membranes. Changes in DHA content of neuronal membranes lead to functional changes in the activity of receptors and other proteins which might be associated with synaptic function. Accumulating evidence suggests the beneficial effects of dietary DHA supplementation on neurotransmission. This article reviews the beneficial effects of DHA on the brain; uptake, incorporation and release of DHA at synapses, effects of DHA on synapses, effects of DHA on neurotransmitters, DHA metabolites, and changes in DHA with age. Further studies to better understand the metabolome of DHA could result in more effective use of this molecule for treatment of neurodegenerative or neuropsychiatric diseases.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA); Polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA); Neurodegeneration; Depression; Anti-nociception
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
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are functionally the most important omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). Oral supply of these fatty acids increases their levels in plasma and cell membranes, often at the expense of the omega-6 PUFAs arachidonic acid (ARA) and linoleic acid. This results in an altered pattern of lipid mediator production to one which is less pro-inflammatory. We investigated whether short term intravenous supply of omega-3 PUFAs could change the levels of EPA, DHA, ARA and linoleic acid in plasma and erythrocytes in patients with hepatic colorectal metastases.
Twenty patients were randomised to receive a 72 hour infusion of total parenteral nutrition with (treatment group) or without (control group) omega-3 PUFAs. EPA, DHA, ARA and linoleic acid were measured in plasma phosphatidylcholine (PC) and erythrocytes at several times points up to the end of infusion and 5 to 12 days (mean 9 days) after stopping the infusion.
The treatment group showed increases in plasma PC EPA and DHA and erythrocyte EPA and decreases in plasma PC and erythrocyte linoleic acid, with effects most evident late in the infusion period. Plasma PC and erythrocyte EPA and linoleic acid all returned to baseline levels after the 5–12 day washout. Plasma PC DHA remained elevated above baseline after washout.
Intravenous supply of omega-3 PUFAs results in a rapid increase of EPA and DHA in plasma PC and of EPA in erythrocytes. These findings suggest that infusion of omega-3 PUFAs could be used to induce a rapid effect especially in targeting inflammation.
http://www.clinicaltrials.gov identifier NCT00942292
Parenteral nutrition; Fish oil; Omega-3 fatty acids; Eicosapentaenoic acid; Docosahexaenoic acid; Arachidonic acid; Liver metastases
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.
Long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFAs) such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are considered essential omega-3 fatty acids in human nutrition. In marine microalgae EPA and/or DHA are allegedly involved in the regulation of membrane fluidity and thylakoid membrane functioning. The cellular content of EPA and DHA may therefore be enhanced at low temperature and irradiance conditions. As a result, polar and cold temperate marine microalgal species might potentially be suitable candidates for commercial EPA and DHA production, given their adaptation to low temperature and irradiance habitats.
In the present study we investigated inter- and intraspecific EPA and DHA variability in five polar and (cold) temperate microalgae. Intraspecific EPA and DHA content did not vary significantly in an Antarctic (Chaetoceros brevis) and a temperate (Thalassiosira weissflogii) centric diatom after acclimation to a range of irradiance levels at two temperatures. Interspecific variability was investigated for two Antarctic (Chaetoceros brevis and Pyramimonas sp. (Prasinophyceae)) and three cold-temperate species (Thalassiosira weissflogii, Emiliania huxleyi (Prymnesiophyceae) and Fibrocapsa japonica (Raphidophyceae)) during exponential growth. Interspecific variability was shown to be much more important than intraspecific variability. Highest relative and absolute levels of DHA were measured in the prymnesiophyte E. huxleyi and the prasinophyte Pyramimonas sp., while levels of EPA were high in the raphidophyte F. japonica and the diatoms C. brevis and T. weissflogii. Yet, no significant differences in LC-PUFA content were found between polar and cold-temperate species. Also, EPA and DHA production rates varied strongly between species. Highest EPA production rate (174 μg L-1 day-1) was found in the Antarctic diatom Chaetoceros brevis, while DHA production was highest in the cold-temperate prymnesiophyte Emiliania huxleyi (164 μg L-1 day-1). We show that, following careful species selection, effective mass cultivation of marine microalgae for EPA and DHA production may be possible under low temperature and irradiance conditions.
Eicosapentaenoic acid; Docosahexaenoic acid; Thalassiosira weissflogii; Chaetoceros brevis; Fibrocapsa japonica; Emiliania huxleyi; Pyramimonas sp.
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
The relationship between omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA) from seafood (eicosapentaenoic acid, EPA; docosahexaenoic acid, DHA) or plant (alpha-linolenic acid, ALA) sources and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) remains unclear. We systematically searched multiple literature databases through June 2011 to identify prospective studies examining relations of dietary n-3 PUFA, dietary fish and/or seafood, and circulating n-3 PUFA biomarkers with incidence of DM. Data were independently extracted in duplicate by 2 investigators, including multivariate-adjusted relative risk (RR) estimates and corresponding 95% CIs. Generalized least-squares trend estimation was used to assess dose-response relationships, with pooled summary estimates calculated by both fixed-effect and random-effect models. From 288 identified abstracts, 16 studies met inclusion criteria, including 18 separate cohorts comprising 540,184 individuals and 25,670 cases of incident DM. Consumption of fish and/or seafood was not significantly associated with DM (n=13 studies; RR per 100g/d=1.12, 95% CI=0.94, 1.34); nor were consumption of EPA+DHA (n=16 cohorts; RR per 250mg/d=1.04, 95% CI=0.97, 1.10) or circulating levels of EPA+DHA biomarkers (n=5 cohorts; RR per 3% of total fatty acids=0.94, 95% CI=0.75, 1.17). Both dietary ALA (n=7 studies; RR per 0.5g/d=0.93, 95% CI=0.83, 1.04) and circulating ALA biomarker levels (n=6 studies; RR per 0.1% of total fatty acid=0.90, 95% CI=0.80, 1.00, P=0.06) were associated with non-significant trend towards lower risk of DM. Substantial heterogeneity (I2~80%) was observed among studies of fish/seafood or EPA+DHA and DM; moderate heterogeneity (<55%) was seen for dietary and biomarker ALA and DM. In unadjusted meta-regressions, study location (Asia vs. North America/Europe), mean BMI, and duration of follow-up each modified the association between fish/seafood and EPA+DHA consumption and DM risk (P-Interaction ≤ 0.02 each). We had limited statistical power to determine the independent effect of these sources of heterogeneity due to their high collinearity. The overall pooled findings do not support either major harms or benefits of fish/seafood or EPA+DHA on development of DM, and suggest that ALA may be associated with modestly lower risk. Reasons for potential heterogeneity of effects, which could include true biologic heterogeneity, publication bias, or chance, deserve further investigation.
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
There is increasing evidence that polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) play a role in cancer risk and progression. The n-3 family of PUFAs includes alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) while the n-6 family includes linolenic acid (LA) and arachidonic acid (AA). EPA and DHA are precursors for anti-inflammatory lipid mediators while AA is a precursor for pro-inflammatory lipid mediators. Collectively, PUFAs play crucial roles in maintaining cellular homeostasis, and perturbations in dietary intake or PUFA metabolism could result in cellular dysfunction and contribute to cancer risk and progression. Epidemiologic studies provide an inconsistent picture of the associations between dietary PUFAs and cancer. This discrepancy may reflect the difficulties in collecting accurate dietary data; however, it also may reflect genetic variation in PUFA metabolism which has been shown to modify physiological levels of PUFAs and cancer risk. Also, host-specific mutations as a result of cellular transformation could modify metabolism of PUFAs in the target-tissue. Clinical trials have shown that supplementation with PUFAs or foods high in PUFAs can affect markers of inflammation, immune function, tumor biology, and prognosis. Pre-clinical investigations have begun to elucidate how PUFAs may mediate cell proliferation, apoptosis and angiogenesis, and the signaling pathways involved in these processes. The purpose of this review is to summarize the current evidence linking PUFAs and their metabolites with cancer and the molecular mechanisms that underlie this association. Identifying the molecular mechanism(s) through which PUFAs affect cancer risk and progression will provide an opportunity to pursue focused dietary interventions that could translate into the development of personalized diets for cancer control.
polyunsaturated fatty acids; cancer; pre-clinical testing; epidemiologic studies; clinical trials as topic; clinical trials; phase II as topic; review of literature
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
Childhood is a period of brain growth and maturation. The long chain omega-3 fatty acid, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), is a major lipid in the brain recognized as essential for normal brain function. In animals, low brain DHA results in impaired learning and behavior. In infants, DHA is important for optimal visual and cognitive development. The usual intake of DHA among toddlers and children is low and some studies show improvements in cognition and behavior as the result of supplementation with polyunsaturated fatty acids including DHA. The purpose of this review was to identify and evaluate current knowledge regarding the relationship of DHA with measures of learning and behavior in healthy school-age children. A systematic search of the literature identified 15 relevant publications for review. The search found studies which were diverse in purpose and design and without consistent conclusions regarding the treatment effect of DHA intake or biomarker status on specific cognitive tests. However, studies of brain activity reported benefits of DHA supplementation and over half of the studies reported a favorable role for DHA or long chain omega-3 fatty acids in at least one area of cognition or behavior. Studies also suggested an important role for DHA in school performance.
docosahexaenoic acid; children; learning; behavior; school performance
Diets enriched in n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA) may protect against breast cancer but biochemical mechanisms are unclear. Our studies showed that the n-3 fatty acid, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) up-regulated syndecan-1 (SDC-1) in human breast cancer cells and we tested the hypothesis that DHA-mediated up-regulation of SDC-1 induces apoptosis. DHA was delivered to MCF-7 cells by n-3 PUFA-enriched low density lipoproteins (LDL) or by albumin in the presence or absence of SDC-1 siRNA. The n-3 PUFA induced apoptosis, which was blocked by SDC-1 silencing. We also confirmed that SDC-1 up-regulation and apoptosis promotion by n-3 PUFA was mediated by PPARγ. Using a luciferase gene driven either by a PPAR response element (PPRE) or a DR-1 site present in the SDC-1 promoter, reporter activities were enhanced by n-3 LDL, DHA and PPARγ agonist, whereas activity of a luciferase gene placed downstream of a mutant DR-1 site was unresponsive. Co-transfection with dominant negative PPARγ DNA eliminated the increase in luciferase activity. These data provide strong evidence that SDC-1 is a molecular target of n-3 PUFA in human breast cancer cells through activation of PPARγ, and that n-3 PUFA-induced apoptosis is mediated by SDC-1. This provides a novel mechanism for the chemo-preventive effects of n-3 PUFA in breast cancer.
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
Microglia are considered the “resident macrophages” of the brain. When in their resting state, microglia perform routine maintenance and immune surveillance. Once activated, either by injury or an immune stimulus, microglia secrete a variety of pro-inflammatory molecules, such as Nitric Oxide, superoxide, and inflammatory cytokines. Up-regulation of pro-inflammatory molecules is transient, and does not cause neurodegeneration. However, if up-regulation lasts for an extended period of time, neurodegeneration ensues.
Many neurodegenerative diseases are characterized by chronic inflammation due to microglial activation. Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) have been proposed as possible preventative treatments for neurodegenerative diseases, due to their anti-inflammatory properties. Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) is an omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) that has potent anti-inflammatory properties.This research work sought to elucidate whether microglial activation can be modulated by combining Aspirin, a classical NSAID, with Docosahexaenoic Acid, a natural anti-inflammatory agent. The combined ability of Aspirin and DHA to modulate microglial activation was determined in the context of pro-inflammatory cytokines, Nitric Oxide levels, as well as total Glutathione levels.
Docosahexaenoic Acid increased total Glutathione levels in microglia cells and enhanced their anti-oxidative capacity. It reduced production of the pro-inflammatory cytokines TNF-α and IL-6 induced through TLR-3 and TLR-4 activation. Furthermore, it reduced production of Nitric Oxide. Aspirin showed similar anti-inflammatory effects with respect to TNF-α during TLR-3 and TLR-7 stimulation. Aspirin did not show any redection in terms of Nitric Oxide production. Combination of Aspirin and Docosahexaenoic Acid showed augmentation in total Glutathione production during TLR-7 stimulation as well as a reduction in IL-6, TNF-α and Nitric Oxide.
Collectively, these findings highlight the combination of Docosahexaenoic Acid and Aspirin as a possible measure against inflammation of the nervous system, thus leading to protection against neurodegenerative diseases with an inflammatory etiology.
Microglia; Docosahexaenoic acid; Aspirin; Inflammation; Cytokines; Nitric oxide; Glutathione