n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, namely docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and can ameliorate many of obesity-associated disorders. We hypothesised that the latter effect will be more pronounced when DHA/EPA is supplemented as phospholipids rather than as triglycerides.
In a ‘prevention study’, C57BL/6J mice were fed for 9 weeks on either a corn oil-based high-fat obesogenic diet (cHF; lipids ∼35% wt/wt), or cHF-based diets in which corn oil was partially replaced by DHA/EPA, admixed either as phospholipids or triglycerides from marine fish. The reversal of obesity was studied in mice subjected to the preceding cHF-feeding for 4 months. DHA/EPA administered as phospholipids prevented glucose intolerance and tended to reduce obesity better than triglycerides. Lipemia and hepatosteatosis were suppressed more in response to dietary phospholipids, in correlation with better bioavailability of DHA and EPA, and a higher DHA accumulation in the liver, white adipose tissue (WAT), and muscle phospholipids. In dietary obese mice, both DHA/EPA concentrates prevented a further weight gain, reduced plasma lipid levels to a similar extent, and tended to improve glucose tolerance. Importantly, only the phospholipid form reduced plasma insulin and adipocyte hypertrophy, while being more effective in reducing hepatic steatosis and low-grade inflammation of WAT. These beneficial effects were correlated with changes of endocannabinoid metabolome in WAT, where phospholipids reduced 2-arachidonoylglycerol, and were more effective in increasing anti-inflammatory lipids such as N-docosahexaenoylethanolamine.
Compared with triglycerides, dietary DHA/EPA administered as phospholipids are superior in preserving a healthy metabolic profile under obesogenic conditions, possibly reflecting better bioavalability and improved modulation of the endocannabinoid system activity in WAT.
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.
The two marine omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), prevalent in fish and fish oils, have been investigated as a strategy towards prophylaxis of atherosclerosis. While the results with fish and fish oils have been not as clear cut, the data generated with the purified ethyl ester forms of these two fatty acids are consistent. Although slight differences in biological activity exist between EPA and DHA, both exert a number of positive actions against atherosclerosis and its complications. EPA and DHA as ethyl esters inhibit platelet aggregability, and reduce serum triglycerides, while leaving other serum lipids essentially unaltered. Glucose metabolism has been studied extensively, and no adverse effects were seen. Pro-atherogenic cytokines are reduced, as are markers of endothelial activation. Endothelial function is improved, vascular occlusion is reduced, and the course of coronary atherosclerosis is mitigated. Heart rate is reduced, and heart rate variability is increased by EPA and DHA. An antiarrhythmic effect can be demonstrated on the supraventricular and the ventricular level. More importantly, two large studies showed reductions in clinical endpoints like sudden cardiac death or major adverse cardiac events. As a consequence, relevant cardiac societies recommend using 1 g/day of EPA and DHA for cardiovascular prevention, after a myocardial infarction and for prevention of sudden cardiac death.
sudden cardiac death; major adverse cardiac events; cardiovascular prevention; eicosapentaenoic acid; docosahexaenoic acid
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
Supplementation with eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) from fish oil may prevent development of heart failure through alterations in cardiac phospholipids that favorably impact inflammation and energy metabolism. A high-fat diet may block these effects in chronically stressed myocardium. Pathological left ventricle (LV) hypertrophy was generated by subjecting rats to pressure overload by constriction of the abdominal aorta. Animals were fed: (1) standard diet (10% of energy from fat), (2) standard diet with EPA+DHA (2.3% of energy intake as EPA+DHA), (3) high fat (60% fat); or (4) high fat with EPA+DHA. Pressure overload increased LV mass by ≈40% in both standard and high-fat diets without fish oil. Supplementation with fish oil increased their incorporation into cardiac phospholipids, and decreased the proinflammatory fatty acid arachidonic acid and urine thromboxane B2 with both the standard and high-fat diet. Linoleic acid and tetralinoloyl cardiolipin (an essential mitochondrial phospholipid) were decreased with pressure overload on standard diet, which was prevented by fish oil. Animals fed high-fat diet had decreased linoleic acid and tetralinoloyl cardiolipin regardless of fish oil supplemention. Fish oil limited LV hypertrophy on the standard diet, and prevented upregulation of fetal genes associated with heart failure (myosin heavy chain-β and atrial natriuetic factor). These beneficial effects of fish oil were absent in animals on the high-fat diet. In conclusion, whereas treatment with EPA+DHA prevented tetralinoloyl cardiolipin depletion, LV hypertrophy, and abnormal genes expression with pressure overload, these effects were absent with a high-fat diet.
Omega-3 fatty acids; cardiac hypertrophy; heart failure; cardiolipin; phospolipids
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
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 investigated the effects of low-dose eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) on the incidence and growth of 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene (DMBA)-induced mammary carcinoma in rats fed a high-fat (HF) diet. We also examined the effects of these treatments on the fatty acid composition of tumour and serum. Tumour incidence was significantly decreased by the administration of low-dose EPA and DHA, whereas their inhibitory effects on tumour growth did not reach significance. Serum arachidonic acid (AA) level was decreased by the administration of low-dose EPA and tended to be decreased by the administration of low-dose DHA, whereas tumour AA levels were not changed. The administration of low-dose EPA and DHA may be useful for inhibiting the incidence of breast cancer.
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
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
Higher fish or higher docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) intake normally correlates positively with higher plasma DHA level, but recent evidence suggests that the positive relationship between intake and plasma levels of DHA is less clear in the elderly.
We compared the metabolism of 13C-DHA in six healthy elderly (mean - 77 y old) and six young adults (mean - 27 y old). All participants were given a single oral dose of 50 mg of uniformly labelled 13C-DHA. Tracer incorporation into fatty acids of plasma triglycerides, free fatty acids, cholesteryl esters and phospholipids, as well as apparent retroconversion and β-oxidation of 13C-DHA were evaluated 4 h, 24 h, 7d and 28d later.
Plasma incorporation and β-oxidation of 13C-DHA reached a maximum within 4 h in both groups, but 13C-DHA was transiently higher in all plasma lipids of the elderly 4 h to 28d later. At 4 h post-dose, 13C-DHA β-oxidation was 1.9 times higher in the elderly, but over 7d, cumulative β-oxidation of 13C-DHA was not different in the two groups (35% in the elderly and 38% in the young). Apparent retroconversion of 13C-DHA was well below 10% of 13C-DHA recovered in plasma at all time points, and was 2.1 times higher in the elderly 24 h and 7d after tracer intake.
We conclude that 13C-DHA metabolism changes significantly during healthy aging. Since DHA is a potentially important molecule in neuro-protection, these changes may be relevant to the higher vulnerability of the elderly to cognitive decline.
The therapeutic efficacy of individual components of fish oils (FO) in various human inflammatory diseases still remains unresolved, possibly due to low levels of n-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) or lower ratio of DHA to EPA. Since FO enriched with DHA (FO-DHA) or EPA (FO-EPA) has become available recently, we investigated their efficacy on survival and inflammatory kidney disease in a well-established animal model of human Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). Results show for the first time that FO-DHA dramatically extends both the median (658 days) and maximal (848 days) lifespan of (NZB × NZW)F1 (B × W) mice. In contrast, FO-EPA fed mice had a median and maximal lifespan of ~384 and 500 days, respectively. Investigations into possible survival mechanisms revealed that FO-DHA (Vs. FO-EPA) lowers serum anti-dsDNA antibodies, IgG deposition in kidneys, and proteinuria. Further, FO-DHA lowered LPS-mediated increases in serum IL-18 levels and caspase-1-dependent cleavage of pro-IL-18 to mature IL-18 in kidneys. Moreover, FO-DHA suppressed LPS-mediated PI3K, Akt, and NF-κB activations in kidney. These data indicate that DHA, but not EPA, is the most potent n-3 fatty acid that suppresses glomerulonephritis and extends lifespan of SLE-prone short-lived B × W mice, possibly via inhibition of IL-18 induction and IL-18-dependent signaling.
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.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a low-grade systemic inflammatory condition, since liver and adipose tissue tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and TNF receptor 1 transcripts and serum TNF-α levels are increased and IL-6-/- mice are less prone to NAFLD. Fatty liver damage caused by high-fat diets is associated with the generation of pro-inflammatory prostaglandin E2 (PGE2). A decrease in the levels of arachidonic acid (AA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and the usefulness of EPA and DHA both in the prevention and management of NAFLD has been reported. AA, EPA and DHA and their anti-inflammatory products lipoxins (LXs), resolvins and protectins suppress IL-6 and TNF-α and PGE2 production. These results suggest that the activities of Δ6 and Δ5 desaturases are reduced in NAFLD and hence, the dietary essential fatty acids, linoleic acid (LA) and α-linolenic acid (ALA) are not metabolized to their long-chain products AA, EPA and DHA, the precursors of anti-inflammatory molecules, LXs, resolvins and protectins that could pre vent NAFLD. This suggests that an imbalance between pro- and anti-inflammatory bioactive lipids contribute to NAFLD. Hence, it is proposed that plasma and tissue levels of AA, EPA, DHA and LXs, resolvins and protectins could be used as predictors and prognostic biomarkers of NAFLD. It is suggested that the synthesis and use of more stable analogues of LXs, resolvins and protectins need to be explored in the prevention and management of NAFLD.
Prostaglandins; Lipids; Arachidonic acid; Eicosapentaenoic acid; Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; Docosahexaenoic acid; Lipoxins; Resolvins; Protectins; Cytokines; Free radicals; Hyperlipidemia
Preclinical and clinical evidence suggests that docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid derived from diet or synthesized in the liver, decreases the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease (AD). DHA levels are reduced in the brain of subjects with AD, but it is still unclear whether human dementias are associated with dysregulations of DHA metabolism. A systems biological view of omega-3 fatty acid metabolism offered unexpected insights on the regulation of DHA homeostasis in AD1. Results of multi-organ lipidomic analyses were integrated with clinical and gene-expression data sets to develop testable hypotheses on the functional significance of lipid abnormalities observed and on their possible mechanistic bases. One surprising outcome of this integrative approach was the discovery that the liver of AD patients has a limited capacity to convert shorter chain omega-3 fatty acids into DHA due to a deficit in the peroxisomal D-bifunctional protein. This deficit may contribute to the decrease in brain DHA levels and contribute to cognitive impairment.
Numerous reports have documented the beneficial effects of dietary docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) on beta-amyloid production and Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, none of these studies have examined and compared DHA, in combination with other dietary nutrients, for its effects on plaque pathogenesis. Potential interactions of DHA with other dietary nutrients and fatty acids are conventionally ignored. Here we investigated DHA with two dietary regimes; peptamen (pep+DHA) and low fat diet (low fat+DHA). Peptamen base liquid diet is a standard sole-source nutrition for patients with gastrointestinal dysfunction. Here we demonstrate that a robust AD transgenic mouse model shows an increased tendency to produce beta-amyloid peptides and amyloid plaques when fed a pep+DHA diet. The increase in beta-amyloid peptides was due to an elevated trend in the levels of beta-secretase amyloid precursor protein (APP) cleaving enzyme (BACE), the proteolytic C-terminal fragment beta of APP and reduced levels of insulin degrading enzyme that endoproteolyse beta-amyloid. On the contrary, TgCRND8 mice on low fat+DHA diet (based on an approximately 18% reduction of fat intake) ameliorate the production of abeta peptides and consequently amyloid plaques. Our work not only demonstrates that DHA when taken with peptamen may have a tendency to confer a detrimental affect on the amyloid plaque build up but also reinforces the importance of studying composite lipids or nutrients rather than single lipids or nutrients for their effects on pathways important to plaque development.
Bioavailability of omega-3 fatty acids (FA) depends on their chemical form. Superior bioavailability has been suggested for phospholipid (PL) bound omega-3 FA in krill oil, but identical doses of different chemical forms have not been compared.
In a double-blinded crossover trial, we compared the uptake of three EPA+DHA formulations derived from fish oil (re-esterified triacylglycerides [rTAG], ethyl-esters [EE]) and krill oil (mainly PL). Changes of the FA compositions in plasma PL were used as a proxy for bioavailability. Twelve healthy young men (mean age 31 y) were randomized to 1680 mg EPA+DHA given either as rTAG, EE or krill oil. FA levels in plasma PL were analyzed pre-dose and 2, 4, 6, 8, 24, 48, and 72 h after capsule ingestion. Additionally, the proportion of free EPA and DHA in the applied supplements was analyzed.
The highest incorporation of EPA+DHA into plasma PL was provoked by krill oil (mean AUC0-72 h: 80.03 ± 34.71%*h), followed by fish oil rTAG (mean AUC0-72 h: 59.78 ± 36.75%*h) and EE (mean AUC0-72 h: 47.53 ± 38.42%*h). Due to high standard deviation values, there were no significant differences for DHA and the sum of EPA+DHA levels between the three treatments. However, a trend (p = 0.057) was observed for the differences in EPA bioavailability. Statistical pair-wise group comparison's revealed a trend (p = 0.086) between rTAG and krill oil. FA analysis of the supplements showed that the krill oil sample contained 22% of the total EPA amount as free EPA and 21% of the total DHA amount as free DHA, while the two fish oil samples did not contain any free FA.
Further studies with a larger sample size carried out over a longer period are needed to substantiate our findings and to determine differences in EPA+DHA bioavailability between three common chemical forms of LC n-3 FA (rTAG, EE and krill oil). The unexpected high content of free EPA and DHA in krill oil, which might have a significant influence on the availability of EPA+DHA from krill oil, should be investigated in more depth and taken into consideration in future trials.
bioavailability; absorption; uptake; ethyl esters; re-esterified triacylglycerides; fish oil; krill oil
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.
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
This research was conducted to explore the relationships between the levels of omega-3 fatty acids in serum phospholipid and key fatty acid ratios including potential cut-offs for risk factor assessment with respect to coronary heart disease and fatal ischemic heart disease.
Blood samples (n = 2053) were obtained from free-living subjects in North America and processed for determining the levels of total fatty acids in serum phospholipid as omega-3 fatty acids including EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid, 20:5 n-3) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid, 22:6 n-3) by combined thin-layer and gas-liquid chromatographic analyses. The omega-3 levels were correlated with selected omega-6: omega-3 ratios including AA (arachidonic acid, 20:4n-6): EPA and AA:(EPA+DHA). Based on previously-published levels of omega-3 fatty acids considered to be in a 'lower risk' category for heart disease and related fatality, 'lower risk' categories for selected fatty acid ratios were estimated.
Strong inverse correlations between the summed total of omega-3 fatty acids in serum phospholipid and all four ratios (omega-6:omega-3 (n-6:n-3), AA:EPA, AA:DHA, and AA:(EPA+DHA)) were found with the most potent correlation being with the omega-6:omega-3 ratio (R2 = 0.96). The strongest inverse relation for the EPA+DHA levels in serum phospholipid was found with the omega-6: omega-3 ratio (R2 = 0.94) followed closely by the AA:(EPA+DHA) ratio at R2 = 0.88. It was estimated that 95% of the subjects would be in the 'lower risk' category for coronary heart disease (based on total omega-3 ≥ 7.2%) with omega-6:omega-3 ratios <4.5 and AA:(EPA+DHA) ratios <1.4. The corresponding ratio cut-offs for a 'lower risk' category for fatal ischemic heart disease (EPA+DHA ≥ 4.6%) were estimated at < 5.8 and < 2.1, respectively.
Strong inverse correlations between the levels of omega-3 fatty acids in serum (or plasma) phospholipid and omega-6: omega-3 ratios are apparent based on this large database of 2053 samples. Certain fatty acid ratios may aid in cardiovascular disease-related risk assessment if/when complete profiles are not available.
Few prior studies have evaluated long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and incidence of congestive heart failure (CHF), typically based on diet questionnaires and with conflicting results. Circulating fatty acid levels provide objective biomarkers of exposure.
We investigated whether plasma phospholipid levels of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20:5n-3), docosapentaenoic acid (DPA, 22:5n-3), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3) were associated with incident CHF.
Prospective cohort study, 1992–2006.
Four U.S. communities.
2,735 U.S. adults free of prevalent heart disease in the Cardiovascular Health Study.
Plasma phospholipid fatty acids and other cardiovascular risk factors were measured in 1992 using standardized methods. Relationships with incident CHF (555 cases during 26,490 person-years, adjudicated using medical records) were assessed using Cox proportional-hazards.
After multivariable-adjustment, plasma phospholipid EPA was inversely associated with incident CHF, with approximately 50% lower risk in the highest vs. lowest quartile [hazard ratio (95%CI)=0.52 (0.38–0.72), P-trend=0.001]. In similar analyses, trends toward lower risk were seen for DPA [0.76 (0.56–1.04), P-trend=0.057] and total long-chain n-3 fatty acids [0.70 (0.49–0.99); P-trend= 0.062], but not DHA [0.84 (0.58–1.21); P-trend=0.38]. In analyses censored to mid-follow-up (7 years) to minimize exposure misclassification over time, multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios (95%CI) were 0.48 for EPA (0.32–0.71; P-trend=0.005); 0.61 for DPA (0.39–0.95; P-trend=0.033); 0.64 for DHA (0.40–1.04; P-trend=0.057); and 0.51 for total n-3 fatty acids (0.32–0.80; P-trend=0.003).
Temporal changes in fatty acid levels over time may have caused underestimation of associations. Unmeasured or imperfectly measured covariates may have caused residual confounding.
Circulating individual and total n-3 fatty acids are associated with lower incidence of CHF in older adults.
Primary Funding Source
National Institutes of Health.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the most abundant essential n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid in the CNS, emerged recently together with eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and DHA/EPA metabolic derivatives as a major player in the resolution of inflammation. Protective antiinflammatory effects of DHA were reported in clinical studies and animal models of colitis, sepsis, and stroke. Here we report for the first time a beneficial effect of dietary n-3 fatty acids in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a model for human multiple sclerosis. In the present study we investigated the effects of DHA on the function of bone marrow-derived dendritic cells (DC) in CD4+ T cell stimulation and differentiation. Pretreatment of DC with DHA prevented LPS-induced DC maturation, maintaining an immature phenotype characterized by low expression of costimulatory molecules and lack of proinflammatory cytokine production (IL-12p70, IL-6 and IL-23). DHA-treated DC were poor stimulators of antigen-specific T cells in terms of proliferation and Th1/Th17 differentiation. This was associated with an increase in p27(kip1), a cell cycle arresting agent, and with decreases in Tbet, GATA-3 and RORγt, master transcription factors for Th1, Th2, and Th17. In contrast, T cells co-cultured with DC-DHA express higher levels of TGFβ and Foxp3, without exhibiting a functional Treg phenotype. Similar to the in vitro results, the beneficial effect of DHA in EAE was associated with reduced numbers of IFNγ- and IL-17-producing CD4+ T cells in both spleen and CNS.
Docosahexaenoic acid; Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis; IL-12; IL-23; Th1; Th17; Foxp3; Tbet; RORγt
In a recent study, we showed that the combination of aspirin plus the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) synergistically inhibited platelet function. As aspirin, EPA, and DHA have demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties, we hypothesized that the ingestion of EPA and DHA, with and without aspirin, would reduce plasma levels of inflammatory cytokines and angiogenesis factors more than aspirin alone and before aspirin was ingested.
Using multiplex technology, we investigated the effects of aspirin (single-dose 650 mg on day 1), EPA+DHA (3.4 g/d for days 2-29), and aspirin with EPA+DHA (day 30) on plasma levels of inflammatory cytokines and angiogenesis factors in healthy adults.
Aspirin alone had no effect on any factor versus baseline, but EPA+DHA, with and without aspirin, significantly reduced concentrations of 8 of 9 factors. Although EPA+DHA plus aspirin reduced concentrations of a subset of the factors compared to baseline, neither aspirin alone nor the combination significantly reduced the level of any analyte more robustly than EPA+DHA alone.
These data suggest that EPA+DHA has more pronounced down-regulatory effects on inflammation and angiogenesis than aspirin. The implications of these findings for the use of combined therapy for cardiovascular disease remain to be clarified.
eicosapentaenoic acid; docosahexaenoic acid; lipid mediators; fatty acids; angiogenesis; hemostasis; platelet function; cytokines; aspirin
Dietary supplementation with ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (ω-3 PUFAs), specifically the fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; 22:6 ω-3) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA; 20:5 ω-3), is known to have beneficial health effects including improvements in glucose and lipid homeostasis and modulation of inflammation. To evaluate the efficacy of two different sources of ω-3 PUFAs, we performed gene expression profiling in the liver of mice fed diets supplemented with either fish oil (FO) or krill oil (KO). We found that ω-3 PUFA supplements derived from a phospholipid krill fraction (KO) downregulated the activity of pathways involved in hepatic glucose production as well as lipid and cholesterol synthesis. The data also suggested that KO-supplementation increases the activity of the mitochondrial respiratory chain. Surprisingly, an equimolar dose of EPA and DHA derived from FO modulated fewer pathways than a KO-supplemented diet and did not modulate key metabolic pathways regulated by KO, including glucose metabolism, lipid metabolism and the mitochondrial respiratory chain. Moreover, FO upregulated the cholesterol synthesis pathway, which was the opposite effect of krill-supplementation. Neither diet elicited changes in plasma levels of lipids, glucose, or insulin, probably because the mice used in this study were young and were fed a low-fat diet. Further studies of KO-supplementation using animal models of metabolic disorders and/or diets with a higher level of fat may be required to observe these effects.
Krill oil; fish oil; polyunsaturated fatty acids; gene transcription; liver; metabolism; EPA; DHA
The purpose of the present study is to investigate the effects of krill oil and fish oil on serum lipids and markers of oxidative stress and inflammation and to evaluate if different molecular forms, triacylglycerol and phospholipids, of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) influence the plasma level of EPA and DHA differently. One hundred thirteen subjects with normal or slightly elevated total blood cholesterol and/or triglyceride levels were randomized into three groups and given either six capsules of krill oil (N = 36; 3.0 g/day, EPA + DHA = 543 mg) or three capsules of fish oil (N = 40; 1.8 g/day, EPA + DHA = 864 mg) daily for 7 weeks. A third group did not receive any supplementation and served as controls (N = 37). A significant increase in plasma EPA, DHA, and DPA was observed in the subjects supplemented with n-3 PUFAs as compared with the controls, but there were no significant differences in the changes in any of the n-3 PUFAs between the fish oil and the krill oil groups. No statistically significant differences in changes in any of the serum lipids or the markers of oxidative stress and inflammation between the study groups were observed. Krill oil and fish oil thus represent comparable dietary sources of n-3 PUFAs, even if the EPA + DHA dose in the krill oil was 62.8% of that in the fish oil.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11745-010-3490-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Plasma lipoproteins; Plasma lipids; Dietary fat; Nutrition, n-3 fatty acids; Lipid absorption; Phospholipids