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
The two-fold higher prevalence rate of major depression in females may involve vulnerability to omega-3 fatty acid deficiency secondary to a dysregulation in ovarian hormones. However, the role of ovarian hormones in the regulation of brain omega-3 fatty acid composition has not been directly evaluated. Here we determined erythrocyte and regional brain docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3) composition in intact male and female rats, and in chronically ovariectomized (OVX) rats with or without cyclic estradiol treatment (2 μg/4 d). All groups were maintained on diets with or without the DHA precursor alpha-linolenic acid (ALA, 18:3n-3). We report that both male (−21%) and OVX (−19%) rats on ALA+ diet exhibited significantly lower erythrocyte DHA composition relative to female controls. Females on ALA+ diet exhibited lower DHA composition in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) relative males (−5%). OVX rats on ALA+ diet exhibited significantly lower DHA composition in the hippocampus (−6%), but not in the PFC, hypothalamus, or midbrain. Lower erythrocyte and hippocampus DHA composition in OVX rats was not prevented by estrogen replacement. All groups maintained on ALA− diet exhibited significantly lower erythrocyte and regional brain DHA composition relative to groups on ALA+ diet, and these reductions were greater in males but not in OVX rats. These preclinical data corroborate clinical evidence for gender differences in peripheral DHA composition (female>male), demonstrate gender differences in PFC DHA composition (male>female), and support a link between ovarian hormones and erythrocyte and region-specific brain DHA composition.
Omega-3 fatty acids; docosahexaenoic acid; alpha-linolenic acid; ovariectomy; estrogen; prefrontal cortex; hippocampus; hypothalamus; midbrain; gender; rat
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is 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
A dysregulation in central serotonin neurotransmission and omega-3 fatty acid deficiency have been implicated in the pathophysiology of major depression. To determine the effects of omega-3 fatty acid deficiency on indices of serotonin neurotransmission in the adult rat brain, female rats were fed diets with or without the omega-3 fatty acid precursor α-linolenic acid (ALA) during perinatal (E0–P90), post-weaning (P21–P90), and post-pubescent (P60–130) development. Ovariectomized (OVX) rats and OVX rats with cyclic estrogen treatment were also examined. Serotonin (5-HT) and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) content, and fatty acid composition were determined in the prefrontal cortex (PFC), and tryptophan hydroxylase-2 (TPH-2), serotonin transporter, and 5-HT1A autoreceptor mRNA expression were determined in the midbrain. ALA deficiency during perinatal (−62%, p=0.0001), post-weaning (−34%, p=0.0001), and post-pubertal (−10%, p=0.0001) development resulted in a graded reduction in adult PFC docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3) composition. Relative to controls, perinatal DHA-deficient rats exhibited significantly lower PFC 5-HT content (−65%, p=0.001), significant greater 5-HIAA content (+15%, p=0.046), and a significant greater 5-HIAA/5-HT ratio (+73%, p=0.001). Conversely, post-weaning DHA-deficient rats exhibited significantly greater PFC 5-HT content (+12%, p=0.03), no change in 5-HIAA content, and a significantly smaller 5-HIAA/5-HT ratio (−9%, p=0.01). Post-pubertal DHA-deficient and OXV rats did not exhibit significant alterations in PFC 5-HT or 5-HIAA content. Only perinatal DHA-deficient rats exhibited a significant reduction in midbrain TPH-2 mRNA expression (−29%, p=0.03). These preclinical data support a causal link between perinatal omega-3 fatty acid deficiency and reduced central serotonin synthesis in adult female rats that is independent of ovarian hormones.
Omega-3 fatty acids; docosahexaenoic acid (DHA); 5-HT; 5-HIAA; estrogen; prefrontal cortex; tryptophan hydroxylase-2; serotonin transporter; 5-HT1A; female; rat
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
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is important for brain function, however, the exact
amount required for the brain is not agreed upon. While it is believed that the
synthesis rate of DHA from α-linolenic acid (ALA) is low, how this
synthesis rate compares with the amount of DHA required to maintain brain DHA
levels is unknown. The objective of this work was to assess whether DHA
synthesis from ALA is sufficient for the brain. To test this, rats consumed a
diet low in n-3 PUFAs, or a diet containing ALA or DHA for 15 weeks. Over the 15
weeks, whole body and brain DHA accretion was measured, while at the end of the
study, whole body DHA synthesis rates, brain gene expression, and DHA uptake
rates were measured. Despite large differences in body DHA accretion, there was
no difference in brain DHA accretion between rats fed ALA and DHA. In rats fed
ALA, DHA synthesis and accretion was 100-fold higher than brain DHA accretion of
rats fed DHA. Also, ALA-fed rats synthesized approximately 3-fold more DHA than
the DHA uptake rate into the brain. This work indicates that DHA synthesis from
ALA may be sufficient to supply the brain.
brain; docosahexaenoic acid; kinetics; a-linolenic-acid; liver; synthesis; conversion
Fish contain essential long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), particularly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 (or n-3) PUFA, but are also the main source of exposure to methylmercury (MeHg), a potent developmental neurotoxicant. Since n-3 PUFAs support neural development and function, benefits deriving from a diet rich in n-3s have been hypothesized to protect against deleterious effects of gestational MeHg exposure. To determine whether protection occurs at the behavioral level, female Long-Evans rats were exposed, in utero, to 0, 0.5, or 5 ppm of Hg as MeHg via drinking water, approximating exposures of 0, 40, and 400 μg Hg/kg/day and producing 0, 0.29, and 5.50 ppm of total Hg in the brains of siblings at birth. They also received pre- and postnatal exposure to one of two diets, both based on the AIN-93 semipurified formulation. A “fish-oil” diet was high in, and a “coconut-oil” diet was devoid of, DHA. Diets were approximately equal in α-linolenic acid and n-6 PUFAs. As adults, the rats were first assessed with a spatial discrimination reversal (SDR) procedure and later with a visual (nonspatial) discrimination reversal (VDR) procedure. MeHg increased the number of errors to criterion for both SDR and VDR during the first reversal, but effects were smaller or nonexistent on the original discrimination and on later reversals. No such MeHg-related deficits were seen when the rats were retested on SDR after two years of age. These results are consistent with previous reports and hypotheses that gestational MeHg exposure produces perseverative responding. No interactions between Diet and MeHg were found, suggesting that n-3 PUFAs do not guard against these behavioral effects. Brain Hg concentrations did not differ between the diets, either. In geriatric rats, failures to respond were less common and response latencies were shorter for rats fed the fish oil diet, suggesting that exposure to a diet rich in n-3s may lessen the impact of age-related declines in response initiation.
Methylmercury; Fish oil; Development; Operant behavior; Discrimination reversal; PUFA; Aging
Dietary long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA) are of crucial importance for the development of neural tissues. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of a dietary supplementation in n-3 fatty acids in female rats during gestation and lactation on fatty acid pattern in brain glial cells phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) and phosphatidylserine (PS) in the neonates.
Sprague-Dawley rats were fed during the whole gestation and lactation period with a diet containing either docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 0.55%) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 0.75% of total fatty acids) or α-linolenic acid (ALA, 2.90%). At two weeks of age, gastric content and brain glial cell PE and PS of rat neonates were analyzed for their fatty acid and dimethylacetal (DMA) profile. Data were analyzed by bivariate and multivariate statistics.
In the neonates from the group fed with n-3 LC-PUFA, the DHA level in gastric content (+65%, P < 0.0001) and brain glial cell PE (+18%, P = 0.0001) and PS (+15%, P = 0.0009) were significantly increased compared to the ALA group. The filtered correlation analysis (P < 0.05) underlined that levels of dihomo-γ-linolenic acid (DGLA), DHA and n-3 docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) were negatively correlated with arachidonic acid (ARA) and n-6 DPA in PE of brain glial cells. No significant correlation between n-3 and n-6 LC-PUFA were found in the PS dataset. DMA level in PE was negatively correlated with n-6 DPA. DMA were found to occur in brain glial cell PS fraction; in this class DMA level was correlated negatively with DHA and positively with ARA.
The present study confirms that early supplementation of maternal diet with n-3 fatty acids supplied as LC-PUFA is more efficient in increasing n-3 in brain glial cell PE and PS in the neonate than ALA. Negative correlation between n-6 DPA, a conventional marker of DHA deficiency, and DMA in PE suggests n-6 DPA that potentially be considered as a marker of tissue ethanolamine plasmalogen status. The combination of multivariate and bivariate statistics allowed to underline that the accretion pattern of n-3 LC-PUFA in PE and PS differ.
To investigate the effect of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) without other highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFA) on n-3 and n-6 essential fatty acid (EFA) metabolism and fatty acid composition in mammals, a stable isotope tracer technique was used in adult rats fed diets with or without 1.3% of algal DHA in a base diet containing 15% of linoleic acid and 3% of alpha-linolenic acid over 8 weeks. The rats were administered orally a mixed oil containing 48 mg/kg body weight of deuterated linoleic and alpha-linolenic acids and euthanized at 4, 8, 24, 96, 168, 240, 360 and 600 h after administration of the isotopes. Fatty acid compositions and the concentrations of deuterated precursors and their respective metabolites were determined in rat liver, plasma, heart and brain as a function of time. DHA, docosapentaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid in the n-3 EFA family were significantly increased in all organs tested in the DHA-fed group, ranging from 5 to 200% greater in comparison with the control group. The accumulation of the metabolites, deuterated-DHA and deuterated-docosapentaenoic acid n-6 were greatly decreased by 1.5 to 2.5 fold in the dietary DHA group. In summary, feeding preformed DHA led to a marked increase in n-3 HUFA content of rat organs at the expense of n-6 HUFA and also prevented the accumulation of newly synthesized deuterated end products. This is the first study which has isolated the effects of DHA on the de novo metabolism on both the n-6 and n-3 EFA pathways.
alpha-linolenic acid; linoleic acid; docosahexaenoic acid; docosapentaenoic acid; essential fatty acid; stable isotope; GC/MS; metabolism
The physical health status of vegetarians has been extensively reported, but there is limited research regarding the mental health status of vegetarians, particularly with regard to mood. Vegetarian diets exclude fish, the major dietary source of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), critical regulators of brain cell structure and function. Omnivorous diets low in EPA and DHA are linked to impaired mood states in observational and experimental studies.
We examined associations between mood state and polyunsaturated fatty acid intake as a result of adherence to a vegetarian or omnivorous diet in a cross-sectional study of 138 healthy Seventh Day Adventist men and women residing in the Southwest. Participants completed a quantitative food frequency questionnaire, Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS), and Profile of Mood States (POMS) questionnaires.
Vegetarians (VEG:n = 60) reported significantly less negative emotion than omnivores (OMN:n = 78) as measured by both mean total DASS and POMS scores (8.32 ± 0.88 vs 17.51 ± 1.88, p = .000 and 0.10 ± 1.99 vs 15.33 ± 3.10, p = .007, respectively). VEG reported significantly lower mean intakes of EPA (p < .001), DHA (p < .001), as well as the omega-6 fatty acid, arachidonic acid (AA; p < .001), and reported higher mean intakes of shorter-chain α-linolenic acid (p < .001) and linoleic acid (p < .001) than OMN. Mean total DASS and POMS scores were positively related to mean intakes of EPA (p < 0.05), DHA (p < 0.05), and AA (p < 0.05), and inversely related to intakes of ALA (p < 0.05), and LA (p < 0.05), indicating that participants with low intakes of EPA, DHA, and AA and high intakes of ALA and LA had better mood.
The vegetarian diet profile does not appear to adversely affect mood despite low intake of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids.
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
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
The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effects of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a major omega-3-polyunsaturated fatty acid (ω-3-PUFAs), in the development of experimental choroidal neovascularization (CNV) in rodents.
Experimental second generation Long Evans rats fed with diets of varying ω-3-PUFA content designed to produce significantly different retinal DHA levels were used in our studies. A transgenic mouse model (fat-1) engineered to over-produce DHA was also studied. CNV was induced by rupture of Bruch's membrane using laser photocoagulation. At 7 days after induction, animals were euthanatized, and eyes were collected. RPE/choroid flatmounts were labeled with isolectin IB4 to determine CNV lesion volumes using confocal microscopy and high-performance 3D imaging software.
The median of CNV complex volumes of animals with DHA-adequate diets was lower by 63% relative to that of animals with DHA-deficient diets. The median of CNV complex volumes in fat-1 transgenic mice was decreased by 59% relative to that of wild type controls.
Dietary intake or genetic manipulation to increase the sources of DHA significantly diminished the volume of induced CNV lesions in rodents. They suggest that consumption of ω-3-PUFAs may serve to prevent CNV.
DHA; Omega-3 fatty acids; Choroidal neovascularization; Diet; Fat-1; Laser-induced CNV
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
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3), an n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) found at high concentrations in brain and retina and critical to their function, can be obtained from fish products or be synthesized from circulating α-linolenic acid (α-LNA, 18:3n-3) mainly in the liver. With aging, liver synthetic enzymes are reported reduced or unchanged in the rat. To test whether liver synthesis-secretion of DHA from α-LNA changes with age, we measured whole-body DHA conversion coefficients and rates in unanesthetized adult male Fischer-344 rats aged 10, 20, or 30 months, fed an eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20:5n-3)- and DHA-containing diet. Unesterified [U- 13 C]α-LNA bound to albumin was infused intravenously for 2 h, while [13 C]-esterified n-3 PUFAs were measured in arterial plasma, as were unlabeled unesterified and esterified PUFA concentrations. Plasma unesterified n-3 PUFA concentrations declined with age, but esterified n-3 PUFA concentrations did not change significantly. Calculated conversion coefficients were not changed significantly with age, whereas synthesis-secretion rates (product of conversion coefficient and unesterified plasma α-LNA concentration) of esterified DHA and n-3 DPA were reduced. Turnovers of esterified n-3 PUFAs in plasma decreased with age, whereas half-lives increased. The results suggest that hepatic capacity to synthesize DHA and other n-3 PUFAs from circulating α-LNA is maintained with age in the rat, but that reduced plasma α-LNA availability reduces net synthesis-secretion. As unesterified plasma DHA is the form that is incorporated preferentially into brain phospholipid, its reduced synthesis may be deleterious to brain function in aged rats.
Liver; Synthesis-secretion rate; Conversion; Aging; Age; Metabolism; Alpha-linolenic acid; n-3 Polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs); Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA); Lipid
Background and Purpose
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA 22:6n-3), an omega-3 essential fatty acid family member, is the precursor of neuroprotectin D1, which downregulates apoptosis and, in turn, promotes cell survival. This study was conducted to assess whether DHA would show neuroprotective efficacy when systemically administered in different doses after middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo) in rats.
Sprague-Dawley rats were anesthetized with isoflurane and subjected to 2 h of MCAo. Animals were treated with either DHA (low doses=3.5 or 7 mg/kg; medium doses= 16 or 35 mg/kg; and high dose= 70 mg/kg) or an equivalent volume of saline, IV, at 3 h after MCAo onset. The neurological status was evaluated during occlusion (60 min), and on day 1, 2, 3 and 7 after MCAo. Seven days after MCAo, brains were perfusion-fixed, and infarct areas and volumes were determined.
Only the low and medium doses of DHA significantly improved the neurological score compared to vehicle rats at 24 h, 48 h, 72 h and 7 days. DHA markedly reduced total corrected infarct volume in all treated groups compared to vehicle rats (3.5 mg/kg: 26±9, 7 mg/kg: 46±12, 16 mg/kg: 37±5, and 35 mg/kg: 34±15 vs. vehicle: 94±12 mm3). Cortical and striatal infarct volumes were also significantly reduced by treatment with DHA. No neuroprotective effects were observed with 70 mg/kg of DHA.
We conclude that DHA experimental therapy in low and medium doses improves neurological and histological outcome following focal cerebral ischemia and might provide benefits in patients suffering ischemic stroke.
focal ischemia; lipids; neuroprotection; animal models
Experimental studies indicate that gamma linolenic acid (GLA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) may inhibit glioma cells growth but effects of oral consumption of these fatty acids on brain tumor fatty acid composition have not been determined in vivo.
GLA oil (GLAO; 72% GLA), DHA oil (DHAO; 73% DHA) were fed to adult wistar rats (1 mL/rat/day) starting one week prior to C6 glioma cells implantation and continued for two weeks after implantation. Control group were fed same amount of high linoleic acid safflower oil (74–77% linoleic acid). Fatty acid composition of tumor samples was determined in a set of 8–12 animals in each group and serum fatty acid in 6 animals per each group. Gene expression of tumor fatty acid binding protein 7 (FABP7), epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), peroxisome proliferator activated receptor γ (PPAR-γ) and retinoid × receptor-α (RXR-α) were determined in a set of 18 animals per group.
DHAO feeding increased EPA of brain tumors and decreased ratio of n-6/n-3 fatty acids. Serum levels of EPA were also increased in DHAO group. A similar trend in serum and tumor levels of DHA were observed in DHAO group but it did not achieve statistical significance. GLAO increased serum concentration of GLA but had no significant effect on tumor GLA or dihomo-gamma linolenic acid (DGLA) concentrations. Gene expression of FABP7 was up-regulated in tumors of DHAO group but no other significant effects were observed on EGFR, PPAR-γ or RXR-α expression, and expression of these genes in tumors of GLAO were not different from SFO group.
Dietary supplementation of DHA containing oil could be an effective way to increase levels of long chain n-3 fatty acids in brain tumors and this increase may be mediated partly by up-regulation of FABP7 expression.
The interest in n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) has expanded significantly in the last few years, due to their many positive effects described. Consequently, the interest in fish oil supplementation has also increased, and many different types of fish oil supplements can be found on the market. Also, it is well known that these types of fatty acids are very easily oxidized, and that stability among supplements varies greatly.
Aims of the study
In this pilot study we investigated the effects of two different types of natural fish oils containing different amounts of the n-3 PUFAs eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and antioxidants on plasma and brain fatty acids, blood lipids, vitamin E, and in vivo lipid peroxidation, as well as brain nitric oxide synthase (NOS) activity, an enzyme which has been shown to be important for memory and learning ability.
Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into four groups and fed regular rat chow pellets enriched with 5% (w/w) of butter (control group), a natural fish oil (17.4% EPA and 11.7% DHA, referred to as EPA-rich), and a natural fish oil rich in DHA (7.7% EPA and 28.0% DHA, referred to as DHA-rich). Both of the fish oils were stabilized by a commercial antioxidant protection system (Pufanox®) at production. The fourth group received the same DHA-rich oil, but without Pufanox® stabilization (referred to as unstable). As an index of stability of the oils, their peroxide values were repeatedly measured during 9 weeks. The dietary treatments continued until sacrifice, after 10 days.
Stability of the oils varied greatly. It took the two stabilized oils 9 weeks to reach the same peroxide value as the unstable oil reached after only a few days. Both the stabilized EPA- and DHA-rich diets lowered the triacylglycerols and total cholesterol compared to control (-45%, P < 0.05 and -54%, P < 0.001; -31%, P < 0.05 and -25%, P < 0.01) and so did the unstable oil, but less efficiently. Only the unstable oil increased in vivo lipid peroxidation significantly compared to control (+40%, P < 0.001). Most of the fatty acids in the plasma phospholipids were significantly affected by both the EPA- and DHA-rich diets compared to control, reflecting their specific fatty acid pattern. The unstable oil diet resulted in smaller changes, especially in n-3 PUFAs. In the brain phospholipids the changes were less pronounced, and only the diet enriched with the stabilized DHA-rich oil resulted in a significantly greater incorporation of DHA (+13%, P < 0.01), as well as total n-3 PUFAs (+13%, P < 0.01) compared to control. Only the stabilized DHA-rich oil increased the brain NOS activity (+33%, P < 0.01).
Both the EPA- and DHA-rich diets affected the blood lipids in a similarly positive manner, and they both had a large impact on plasma phospholipid fatty acids. It was only the unstable oil that increased in vivo lipid peroxidation. However, the intake of DHA was more important than that of EPA for brain phospholipid DHA enrichment and brain NOS activity, and the stability of the fish oil was also important for these effects.
Antioxidants; brain; DHA; EPA; fish oil; lipid peroxidation; nitric oxide synthase
Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for proper development and function of the brain where docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the primary omega-3 fatty acid in the brain, is retained avidly by the neuronal membranes. We investigated the effect of DHA depletion in the brain on the outcome of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Pregnant mice were put on an omega-3 fatty acid adequate or deficient diet from gestation day 14 and the pups were raised on the respective diets. Continuation of this dietary regime for three generations resulted in approximately 70% loss of DHA in the brain. Controlled cortical impact was delivered to both groups of mice to produce severe TBI and the functional recovery was compared. Compared to the omega-3 adequate mice, the DHA depleted mice exhibited significantly slower recovery from motor deficits evaluated by the rotarod and the beam walk tests. Furthermore, the DHA deficient mice showed greater anxiety-like behavior tested in the open field test as well as cognitive deficits evaluated by the novel object recognition test. The level of alpha spectrin II breakdown products, the markers of TBI, was significantly elevated in the deficient mouse cortices, indicating that the injury is greater in the deficient brains. This observation was further supported by the reduction of NeuN positive cells around the site of injury in the deficient mice, indicating exacerbated neuronal death after injury. These results suggest an important influence of the brain DHA status on TBI outcome.
Background: The proinflammatory cytokine Interleukin-1β (IL-1β), which increases in the heart post myocardial infarction (MI), has been shown to cause loss of Connexin43 (Cx43) function, an event known to underlie formation of the arrhythmogenic substrate. Omega 3 Fatty acids exhibit antiarrhythmic properties and impact IL-1β signaling. We hypothesize that Omega-3 fatty acids prevent arrhythmias in part, by inhibiting IL-1β signaling thus maintaining functional Cx43 channels. Methods: Rat neonatal myocytes or Madin-Darby Canine Kidney Epithelial (MDCK) cells grown in media in the absence (Ctr) or presence of 30 μM docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, an Omega-3 Fatty acid) were treated with 0.1 μM activated IL-1β. We determined Cx43 channel function using a dye spread assay. Western blot and immunostaining were used to examine Cx43 levels/localization and downstream effectors of IL-1β. In addition we used a murine model of MI for 24 h to determine the impact of an Omega-3 fatty acid enriched diet on Cx43 levels/localization post MI. Results: IL-1β significantly inhibited Cx43 function in Ctr cells (200.9 ± 17.7 μm [Ctr] vs. 112.8 ± 14.9 μm [0.1 uM IL-1β], p<0.05). However, DHA-treated cells remained highly coupled in the presence of IL-1β [167.9 ± 21.9 μm [DHA] vs. 164.4 ± 22.3 μm [DHA + 0.1 uM IL-1β], p<0.05, n = 4]. Additionally, western blot showed that IL-1β treatment caused a 38.5% downregulation of Cx43 [1.00 au [Ctr] vs. 0.615 au (0.1 μM IL-1β) which was completely abolished in DHA-treated cells (0.935 au [DHA] vs. 1.02 au [DHA + 0.1 μM IL-1β), p < 0.05, n = 3]. Examination of the downstream modulator of IL-1β, NFκβ showed that while hypoxia caused translocation of NFκβ to the nucleus, this was inhibited by DHA. Additionally we found that a diet enriched in Omega-3 Fatty acids inhibited lateralization of Cx43 in the post-MI murine heart as well as limited activation of fibroblasts which would lead to decreased fibrosis overall. Conclusions: Omega 3 Fatty acid treatment inhibited IL-1β-stimulated loss of Cx43 protein, and more importantly, inhibited loss of Cx43 function by inhibiting translocation of NFκβ. In the intact heart a diet enriched in Omega 3 Fatty Acids limited loss of Cx43 at the intercalated disk in the heart following MI. These data suggest that one of cardio-protective mechanisms by which Omega 3 Fatty acids work includes prevention of the pro-arrhythmic loss of Cx43 post MI and the attenuation of cardiac fibrosis after injury.
arrhythmia; fibrosis; gap junction; inflammation; interleukin; myocardial infarction
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
It has been demonstrated thatin utero ethanol (EtOH) exposure induces hyperactive behavior and learning disturbances in offspring. In order to investigate the effects of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) on these neurobehavioral dysfunctions of rat pups induced byin utero EtOH exposure, pregnant Wistar rats were divided into four treatment groups depending on the type of oil added to the diet and drinking water as follows; (a) 5% safflower oil with tap water (TW/n-6), (b) 3% safflower oil and 2% DHA with tap water (TW/n-3), (c) 5% safflower oil with 10%-EtOH (ET/n-6), (d) 3% safflower oil and 2% DHA with 10%-EtOH (ET/n-3) at gestational day (GD) 7.
10%-EtOH was administered to dams in ET/n-6 and ET/n-3 groups from GD 7 to the pups’ weaning (postnatal week 4), and all pups were fed with the same diet that was given to their dams during the entire examination period. The open-field test and the water E-maze test were conducted for all pups, and a spontaneous motor activity test and the Sidman electric shock avoidance test were performed for some of male pups. Amounts of monoamine metabolites in striatum were then determined, and fatty acid analyses of total brain lipids were performed.
The male pups in the ET/n-6 group showed significandy more rearing and square-crossing movements in the open-field test, and significandy higher spontaneous motor activity during the dark period in the daily cycle compared to the males in the TW/n-6 group. The male pups in the ET/n-3 group showed fewer of these behaviors in the open-field test compared to the ET/n-6 group males, and a normal pattern of spontaneous motor activity.
Learning disturbance induced byin utero EtOH exposure was not observed in the E-shaped water maze, but was observed in the avoidance rates in the Sidman electric shock avoidance test. However, there was no significant modifying effect of DHA on the avoidance rates in EtOH exposed pups.
The analysis of the fatty acid composition of total lipids in the brains of the pups revealed high levels of DHA in the diet reflected an increased level of brain DHA and caused a decreased level of the brain arachidonic acid. Retroco nversion from DHA to eicosapentaenoic acid was also observed. However, there was no significant effect of DHA on the levels of monoamine metabolites.
These results support the hypothesis that DHA can counteract the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
fetal alcohol effect; docosahexaenoic acid; learning behavior; hyperactive behavior; monoamine metabolites
B10.RIII and B10.G mice were transferred from a diet of laboratory rodent chow to a standard diet in which all the fat (5% by weight) was supplied as either fish oil (17% eicosapentaenoic acid [EPA], 12% docosahexaenoic acid [DHA], 0% arachidonic acid [AA], and 2% linoleic acid) or corn oil (0% EPA, 0% DHA, 0% AA, and 65% linoleic acid). The fatty acid composition of the macrophage phospholipids from mice on the chow diet was similar to that of mice on a corn oil diet. Mice fed the fish oil diet for only 1 wk showed substantial increases in macrophage phospholipid levels of the omega-3 fatty acids (of total fatty acid 4% was EPA, 10% docosapentaenoic acid [DPA], and 10% DHA), and decreases in omega-6 fatty acids (12% was AA, 2% docosatetraenoic acid [DTA], and 4% linoleic acid) compared to corn oil-fed mice (0% EPA, 0% DPA, 6% DHA, 20% AA, 9% DTA, and 8% linoleic acid). After 5 wk this difference between the fish oil-fed and corn oil-fed mice was even more pronounced. Further small changes occurred at 5-9 wk. We studied the prostaglandin (PG) and thromboxane (TX) profile of macrophages prepared from mice fed the two diets just before being immunized with collagen. Irrespective of diet, macrophages prepared from female mice and incubated for 24 h had significantly more PG and TX in the medium than similarly prepared macrophages from male mice. The increased percentage of EPA and decreased percentage of AA in the phospholipids of the macrophages prepared from the fish oil-fed mice was reflected in a reduction in the amount of PGE2 and PGI2 in the medium relative to identically incubated macrophages prepared from corn oil-fed mice. When this same fish oil diet was fed to B10.RIII mice for 26 d before immunization with type II collagen, the time of onset of arthritis was increased, and the incidence and severity of arthritis was reduced compared to arthritis induced in corn oil-fed mice. The females, especially those on the fish oil diet, tended to have less arthritis than the males. These alterations in the fatty acid pool available for PG and leukotriene synthesis suggest a pivotal role for the macrophage and PG in the immune and/or inflammatory response to type II collagen.
Prior clinical studies suggest that chronic treatment with atypical antipsychotic medications increase erythrocyte and postmortem prefrontal cortex (PFC) omega-3 fatty acid composition in patients with schizophrenia (SZ). However, because human tissue phospholipid omega-3 fatty acid composition is potentially influenced by multiple extraneous variables, definitive evaluation of this putative mechanism of action requires an animal model. In the present study, we determined the effects of chronic treatment with the atypical antipsychotic risperidone (RISP, 3.0 mg/kg/d) on erythrocyte and PFC omega-3 fatty acid composition in rats maintained on a diet with or without the dietary omega-3 fatty acid precursor, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA, 18:3n-3). Chronic RISP treatment resulted in therapeutically-relevant plasma RISP and 9-OH-RISP concentrations (18±2.6 ng/ml), and significantly increased erythrocyte docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3, +22%, p=0.0003) and docosapentaenoic acid (22:5n-3, +18%, p=0.01) composition, and increased PFC DHA composition (+7%, p=0.03) in rats maintained on the ALA+ diet. In contrast, chronic RISP did not alter erythrocyte or PFC omega-3 fatty acid composition in rats maintained on the ALA− diet. Chronic RISP treatment did not alter erythrocyte or PFC arachidonic acid (AA, 20:4n-6) composition. These data demonstrate that chronic RISP treatment significantly augments ALA-DHA biosynthesis, and preferentially increases peripheral and central membrane omega-3 fatty acid composition. Augmented omega-3 fatty acid biosynthesis and membrane composition represents a novel mechanism of action that may contribute in part to the efficacy of RISP in the treatment of SZ.
Risperidone; 9-OH-RISP; Prefrontal cortex; Erythrocyte; Omega-3 fatty acid; Docosahexaenoic acid; Arachidonic acid; Rat
Consumption of ω-3 fatty acids from fish oil, specifically eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), decreases risk for heart failure and attenuates pathologic cardiac remodeling in response to pressure overload. Dietary supplementation with EPA+DHA may also impact cardiac mitochondrial function and energetics through alteration of membrane phospholipids. We assessed the role of EPA+DHA supplementation on left ventricular (LV) function, cardiac mitochondrial membrane phospholipid composition, respiration, and sensitivity to mitochondrial permeability transition pore (MPTP) opening in normal and infarcted myocardium. Rats were subjected to sham surgery or myocardial infarction by coronary artery ligation (n=10–14), and fed a standard diet, or supplemented with EPA+DHA (2.3% of energy intake) for 12 weeks. EPA+DHA altered fatty acid composition of total mitochondrial phospholipids and cardiolipin by reducing arachidonic acid content and increasing DHA incorporation. EPA+DHA significantly increased calcium uptake capacity in both subsarcolemmal and intrafibrillar mitochondria from sham rats. This treatment effect persisted with the addition of cyclosporin A, and was not accompanied by changes in mitochondrial respiration or coupling, or cyclophilin D protein expression. Myocardial infarction resulted in heart failure as evidenced by LV dilation and contractile dysfunction. Infarcted LV myocardium had decreased mitochondrial protein yield and activity of mitochondrial marker enzymes, however respiratory function of isolated mitochondria was normal. EPA+DHA had no effect on LV function, mitochondrial respiration, or MPTP opening in rats with heart failure. In conclusion, dietary supplementation with EPA+DHA altered mitochondrial membrane phospholipid fatty acid composition in normal and infarcted hearts, but delayed MPTP opening only in normal hearts.
eicosapentaenoic acid; docosahexaenoic acid; myocardial infarction; mitochondrial permeability transition pore