Dietary requirements for maintaining brain and heart docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3) homeostasis are not agreed on, in part because rates of liver DHA synthesis from circulating α-linolenic acid (α-LNA, 18:2n-3) have not been quantified. These rates can be estimated in vivo using intravenous radiotracer- or heavy isotope-labeled α-LNA infusion. In adult unanesthetized male rats, such infusion shows that liver synthesis-secretion rates of DHA from α-LNA markedly exceed brain and heart DHA synthesis rates and brain DHA consumption rate, and that liver but not heart or brain synthesis is upregulated as dietary n-3 PUFA content is reduced. These differences in rate reflect much higher expression of DHA-synthesizing enzymes in liver, and upregulation of liver but not heart or brain enzyme expression by reduced dietary n-3 PUFA content. A noninvasive intravenous [U-13C]α-LNA infusion method that produces steady-state liver tracer metabolism gives exact liver DHA synthesis-secretion rates and could be extended for human studies.
secretion; synthesis; docosahexaenoic acid; α-linolenic acid; kinetics; liver; brain; heart; rat; PUFA; n-3
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
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
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
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
Docosapentaenoic acid (DPAn-6, 22:5n-6) is an n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) whose brain concentration can be increased in rodents by dietary n-3 PUFA deficiency, which may contribute to their behavioral dysfunction. We used our in vivo intravenous infusion method to see if brain DPAn-6 turnover and metabolism also were altered with deprivation. We studied male rats that had been fed for 15 weeks post-weaning an n-3 PUFA adequate diet containing 4.6% alpha-linolenic acid (α-LNA, 18:3n-3) or a deficient diet (0.2% α-LNA), each lacking docosahexaenoic acid (22:6n-3) and arachidonic acid (AA, 20:4n-6). [1-14C]DPAn-6 was infused intravenously for 5 min in unanesthetized rats, after which the brain underwent high-energy microwaving, and then was analyzed. The n-3 PUFA deficient compared with adequate diet increased DPAn-6 and decreased DHA concentrations in plasma and brain, while minimally changing brain AA concentration. Incorporation rates of unesterified DPAn-6 from plasma into individual brain phospholipids were increased 5.2–7.7 fold, while turnover rates were increased 2.1–4.7 fold. The observations suggest that increased metabolism and brain concentrations of DPAn-6 and its metabolites, together with a reduced brain DHA concentration, contribute to behavioral and functional abnormalities reported with dietary n-3 PUFA deprivation in rodents.
docosapentaenoic; docosahexaenoic; deficient; turnover; kinetics; brain; diet; n-6; PUFA; arachidonic; rat; phospholipase A2
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.
Decreased tissue levels of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; 22:6n-3) are implicated in the etiologies of non-puerperal and postpartum depression. With the aim of determining neurobiological sequelae of decreased brain DHA content, this study examined the effects of a loss of brain DHA content and concurrent reproductive status 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 23–26% lower than virgin and parous rats fed a control diet containing adequate α-linolenic acid. Parous dams were tested/euthanized at weaning (postnatal day 20) of the second litter; virgin females, during diestrus. Decreased brain DHA was associated with decreased hippocampal BDNF gene expression and increased relative corticosterone response to an intense stressor, regardless of reproductive status. In virgin females with decreased brain DHA, serotonin content and turnover in frontal cortex were decreased compared to virgin females with normal brain DHA. In parous dams with decreased brain DHA, the density of 5-HT1A receptors in the hippocampus was increased, corticosterone response to an intense stressor was increased, and the latency to immobility in the forced swim test was decreased compared to parous dams with normal DHA. These findings demonstrate neurobiological alterations attributable to decreased brain DHA or an interaction of parous status and brain DHA level. Furthermore, the data are consistent with findings in depressed humans, and thus support a role for DHA as a factor in the etiologies of depressive illnesses, particularly postpartum depression.
omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid; brain-derived neurotrophic factor; serotonin 1A receptor; forced swim; postpartum; corticosterone
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) 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
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 n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) deprivation increases expression of arachidonic acid (AA 20:4n-6)-selective cytosolic phospholipase A2 (cPLA2) IVA and cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 in rat brain, while decreasing expression of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA 22:6n-3)-selective calcium-independent iPLA2 VIA. Assuming that these enzyme changes represented brain homeostatic responses to deprivation, we hypothesized that dietary n-6 PUFA deprivation would produce changes in the opposite directions.
Brain expression of PUFA-metabolizing enzymes and their transcription factors was quantified in male rats fed an n-6 PUFA adequate or deficient diet for 15 weeks post-weaning.
The deficient compared with adequate diet increased brain mRNA, protein and activity of iPLA2 VIA and 15-lipoxygenase (LOX), but decreased cPLA2 IVA and COX-2 expression. The brain protein level of the iPLA2 transcription factor SREBP-1 was elevated, while protein levels were decreased for AP-2α and NF-κB p65, cPLA2 and COX-2 transcription factors, respectively.
With dietary n-6 PUFA deprivation, rat brain PUFA metabolizing enzymes and some of their transcription factors change in a way that would homeostatically dampen reductions in brain n-6 PUFA concentrations and metabolism, while n-3 PUFA metabolizing enzyme expression is increased. The changes correspond to reported in vitro enzyme selectivities for AA compared with DHA. (198 words)
linoleic acid; arachidonic; essential fatty acid; deficient; turnover rate; cyclooxygenase; brain; PUFA; phospholipase; lipoxygenase; SREBP; transcription
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
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
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
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
Treatment with the ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) docosahexanoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) exerts cardioprotective effects, and suppresses Ca2+-induced opening of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore (MPTP). These effects are associated with increased DHA and EPA, and lower arachidonic acid (ARA) in cardiac phospholipids. While clinical studies suggest the triglyceride lowering effects of DHA and EPA are equivalent, little is known about the independent effects of DHA and EPA on mitochondria function. We compared the effects of dietary supplementation with the ω-3 PUFAs DHA and EPA on cardiac mitochondrial phospholipid fatty acid composition and Ca2+-induced MPTP opening. Rats were fed a standard lab diet with either normal low levels of ω-3 PUFA, or DHA or EPA at 2.5% of energy intake for 8 weeks, and cardiac mitochondria were isolated and analyzed for Ca2+-induced MPTP opening and phospholipid fatty acyl composition. DHA supplementation increased both DHA and EPA and decreased ARA in mitochondrial phospholipid, and significantly delayed MPTP opening as assessed by increased Ca2+ retention capacity and decreased Ca2+-induced mitochondria swelling. EPA supplementation increased EPA in mitochondrial phospholipids, but did not affect DHA, only modestly lowered ARA, and did not affect MPTP opening. In summary, dietary supplementation with DHA but not EPA, profoundly altered mitochondrial phospholipid fatty acid composition and delayed Ca2+-induced MPTP opening.
cardiac; eicosapentaenoic acid; docosahexaenoic acid; fish oil; heart; mitochondrial permeability transition pore
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 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.
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
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
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
Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) block apoptotic neuronal cell death and are strongly neuroprotective in acute and chronic neurodegeneration. Theoretical considerations, indirect data, and consideration of parsimony lead to the hypothesis that modulation of mitochondrial pathway(s) underlies at least some of the neuroprotective effects of n-3 PUFAs. We therefore systematically tested this hypothesis on healthy male FBFN1 rats fed for four weeks with isocaloric, 10% fat-containing diets supplemented with 1, 3, or 10% fish oil (FO). High resolution mass spectrometric analysis confirmed expected diet-driven increases in docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6, n-3) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20:5, n-3) in sera, liver and nonsynaptosomal brain mitochondria. We further evaluated the resistance of brain and liver mitochondria to Ca2+ overload and prooxidants. Under these conditions, neither mitochondrial resistance to Ca2+ overload and prooxidants nor mitochondrial physiology is altered by diet, despite the expected incorporation of DHA and EPA in mitochondrial membranes and plasma. Collectively, the data eliminate one of the previously proposed mechanism(s) that n-3 PUFA induced augmentation of mitochondrial resistance to the oxidant/calcium-driven dysfunction. These data furthermore allow us to define a specific series of follow-up experiments to test related hypotheses about the effect of n-3 PUFAs on brain mitochondria.
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.
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.