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
The systemic bioavailability of free fatty acid (FFA) forms of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) compared with ethyl ester (EE) forms is dependent on the presence of intestinal lipases and is highest during consumption of high-fat meals. Given that patients with cardiovascular disease are advised to reduce dietary fat intake, potentially lowering the bioavailability and therapeutic benefit, the hypothesis that FFA forms provide for higher bioavailability compared with EE forms under low-fat diet conditions was tested where the pharmacokinetics of the FFA form (Epanova™) were compared with those of an ethyl ester form (Lovaza®) following repeat dosing. Fifty-two healthy male and female subjects were equally allocated to one of two open-label, parallel-group cohorts. Following a Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet for a minimum of 7 days, blood samples were drawn for endogenous values for EPA and DHA over a 24-hour period. Subjects were then administered 4 × 1 g capsules of either Epanova (OM3 FFA) or Lovaza (OM3 EE) once daily for 14 days, following which serial blood samples were drawn over a 24-hour period to characterize the bioavailability of EPA and DHA from the respective formulations. In addition, changes from baseline in lipid profile were explored. Systemic bioavailability, as measured by area under the curve from time zero to 24 hours (AUC0-τ) and the maximum measured plasma concentrations during the 0–24 hour dosing interval (Cmax,ss) of unadjusted total plasma EPA + DHA were approximately 3-fold and 3.9-fold higher, respectively, for Epanova relative to Lovaza. Following baseline adjustment, the magnitude of difference in bioavailability was approximately 5.8-fold and 6.5-fold higher in AUC0-τ and Cmax, respectively, for Epanova relative to Lovaza. Serum triglycerides were reduced by a significantly greater extent (P = 0.013) for Epanova relative to Lovaza (21% versus 8%). The bioavailability of the FFA forms of EPA and DHA in Epanova are significantly greater than the bioavailability from the EE forms present in Lovaza under low-fat dietary conditions normally recommended for patients with cardiovascular disease. This increased bioavailability may lead to improved triglyceride-lowering in patients with hypertriglyceridemia.
hypertriglyceridemia; eicosapentaenoic acid; docosahexaenoic acid; pharmacokinetics
Recent studies have focused on the use of multi-nutrient dietary interventions in search of alternatives for the treatment and prevention of Alzheimer's disease (AD). In this study we investigated to which extent long-term consumption of two specific multi-nutrient diets can modulate AD-related etiopathogenic mechanisms and behavior in 11-12-month-old AβPPswe-PS1dE9 mice. Starting from 2 months of age, male AβPP-PS1 mice and wild-type littermates were fed either a control diet, the DHA+EPA+UMP (DEU) diet enriched with uridine monophosphate (UMP) and the omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), or the Fortasyn® Connect (FC) diet enriched with the DEU diet plus phospholipids, choline, folic acid, vitamins and antioxidants. We performed behavioral testing, proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy, immunohistochemistry, biochemical analyses and quantitative real-time PCR to gain a better understanding of the potential mechanisms by which these multi-nutrient diets exert protective properties against AD. Our results show that both diets were equally effective in changing brain fatty acid and cholesterol profiles. However, the diets differentially affected AD-related pathologies and behavioral measures, suggesting that the effectiveness of specific nutrients may depend on the dietary context in which they are provided. The FC diet was more effective than the DEU diet in counteracting neurodegenerative aspects of AD and enhancing processes involved in neuronal maintenance and repair. Both diets elevated interleukin-1β mRNA levels in AβPP-PS1 and wild-type mice. The FC diet additionally restored neurogenesis in AβPP-PS1 mice, decreased hippocampal levels of unbound choline-containing compounds in wild-type and AβPP-PS1 animals, suggesting diminished membrane turnover, and decreased anxiety-related behavior in the open field behavior. In conclusion, the current data indicate that specific multi-nutrient diets can influence AD-related etiopathogenic processes. Intervention with the FC diet might be of interest for several other neurodegenerative and neurological disorders.
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are functionally the most important omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). Oral supply of these fatty acids increases their levels in plasma and cell membranes, often at the expense of the omega-6 PUFAs arachidonic acid (ARA) and linoleic acid. This results in an altered pattern of lipid mediator production to one which is less pro-inflammatory. We investigated whether short term intravenous supply of omega-3 PUFAs could change the levels of EPA, DHA, ARA and linoleic acid in plasma and erythrocytes in patients with hepatic colorectal metastases.
Twenty patients were randomised to receive a 72 hour infusion of total parenteral nutrition with (treatment group) or without (control group) omega-3 PUFAs. EPA, DHA, ARA and linoleic acid were measured in plasma phosphatidylcholine (PC) and erythrocytes at several times points up to the end of infusion and 5 to 12 days (mean 9 days) after stopping the infusion.
The treatment group showed increases in plasma PC EPA and DHA and erythrocyte EPA and decreases in plasma PC and erythrocyte linoleic acid, with effects most evident late in the infusion period. Plasma PC and erythrocyte EPA and linoleic acid all returned to baseline levels after the 5–12 day washout. Plasma PC DHA remained elevated above baseline after washout.
Intravenous supply of omega-3 PUFAs results in a rapid increase of EPA and DHA in plasma PC and of EPA in erythrocytes. These findings suggest that infusion of omega-3 PUFAs could be used to induce a rapid effect especially in targeting inflammation.
http://www.clinicaltrials.gov identifier NCT00942292
Parenteral nutrition; Fish oil; Omega-3 fatty acids; Eicosapentaenoic acid; Docosahexaenoic acid; Arachidonic acid; Liver metastases
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
In an effort to identify new alternatives for long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC n-3 PUFA) supplementation, the effect of three sources of omega 3 fatty acids (algae, fish and Echium oils) on lipid profile and inflammation biomarkers was evaluated in LDL receptor knockout mice.
The animals received a high fat diet and were supplemented by gavage with an emulsion containing water (CON), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 42.89%) from algae oil (ALG), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 19.97%) plus DHA (11.51%) from fish oil (FIS), and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA, 26.75%) plus stearidonic acid (SDA, 11.13%) from Echium oil (ECH) for 4 weeks.
Animals supplemented with Echium oil presented lower cholesterol total and triacylglycerol concentrations than control group (CON) and lower VLDL than all of the other groups, constituting the best lipoprotein profile observed in our study. Moreover, the Echium oil attenuated the hepatic steatosis caused by the high fat diet. However, in contrast to the marine oils, Echium oil did not affect the levels of transcription factors involved in lipid metabolism, such as Peroxisome Proliferator Activated Receptor α (PPAR α) and Liver X Receptor α (LXR α), suggesting that it exerts its beneficial effects by a mechanism other than those observed to EPA and DHA. Echium oil also reduced N-6/N-3 FA ratio in hepatic tissue, which can have been responsible for the attenuation of steatosis hepatic observed in ECH group. None of the supplemented oils reduced the inflammation biomarkers.
Our results suggest that Echium oil represents an alternative as natural ingredient to be applied in functional foods to reduce cardiovascular disease risk factors.
Atherosclerosis; Inflammation; Echium; Stearidonic; Omega 3; Steatosis
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.
Long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFAs) such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are considered essential omega-3 fatty acids in human nutrition. In marine microalgae EPA and/or DHA are allegedly involved in the regulation of membrane fluidity and thylakoid membrane functioning. The cellular content of EPA and DHA may therefore be enhanced at low temperature and irradiance conditions. As a result, polar and cold temperate marine microalgal species might potentially be suitable candidates for commercial EPA and DHA production, given their adaptation to low temperature and irradiance habitats.
In the present study we investigated inter- and intraspecific EPA and DHA variability in five polar and (cold) temperate microalgae. Intraspecific EPA and DHA content did not vary significantly in an Antarctic (Chaetoceros brevis) and a temperate (Thalassiosira weissflogii) centric diatom after acclimation to a range of irradiance levels at two temperatures. Interspecific variability was investigated for two Antarctic (Chaetoceros brevis and Pyramimonas sp. (Prasinophyceae)) and three cold-temperate species (Thalassiosira weissflogii, Emiliania huxleyi (Prymnesiophyceae) and Fibrocapsa japonica (Raphidophyceae)) during exponential growth. Interspecific variability was shown to be much more important than intraspecific variability. Highest relative and absolute levels of DHA were measured in the prymnesiophyte E. huxleyi and the prasinophyte Pyramimonas sp., while levels of EPA were high in the raphidophyte F. japonica and the diatoms C. brevis and T. weissflogii. Yet, no significant differences in LC-PUFA content were found between polar and cold-temperate species. Also, EPA and DHA production rates varied strongly between species. Highest EPA production rate (174 μg L-1 day-1) was found in the Antarctic diatom Chaetoceros brevis, while DHA production was highest in the cold-temperate prymnesiophyte Emiliania huxleyi (164 μg L-1 day-1). We show that, following careful species selection, effective mass cultivation of marine microalgae for EPA and DHA production may be possible under low temperature and irradiance conditions.
Eicosapentaenoic acid; Docosahexaenoic acid; Thalassiosira weissflogii; Chaetoceros brevis; Fibrocapsa japonica; Emiliania huxleyi; Pyramimonas sp.
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.
The long-chain n-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) have human health benefits. Alternatives to fish as sources of EPA and DHA are needed. Oil from the micro-algae Nannochloropsis oculata contains a significant amount of EPA conjugated to phospholipids and glycolipids and no DHA. Krill oil contains EPA and DHA conjugated to phospholipids. We compare the appearance of fatty acids in blood plasma of healthy humans after consuming a high fat meal followed by either algal oil or krill oil.
Ten healthy males aged 18-45 years consumed a standard high fat (55 g) breakfast followed by either algal oil (providing 1.5 g EPA and no DHA) or krill oil (providing 1.02 g EPA and 0.54 g DHA). All participants consumed both oils in random order and separated by 7 days. Blood samples were collected before the breakfast and at several time points up to 10 hours after taking the oils. Fatty acid concentrations (μg/ml) in plasma were determined by gas chromatography.
Fatty acids derived mainly from the breakfast appeared rapidly in plasma, peaking about 3 hours after consuming the breakfast, and in a pattern that reflected their content in the breakfast. There were time-dependent increases in the concentrations of both EPA and DHA with both algal oil (P < 0.001 for EPA; P = 0.027 for DHA) and krill oil (P < 0.001 for both EPA and DHA). The concentration of EPA was higher with algal oil than with krill oil at several time points. DHA concentration did not differ between oils at any time point. The maximum concentration of EPA was higher with algal oil (P = 0.010) and both the area under the concentration curve (AUC) and the incremental AUC for EPA were greater with algal oil (P = 0.020 and 0.006). There was no difference between oils in the AUC or the incremental AUC for DHA.
This study in healthy young men given a single dose of oil indicates that the polar-lipid rich oil from the algae Nannochloropis oculata is a good source of EPA in humans.
Omega-3; Eicosapentaenoic acid; Docosahexaenoic acid; Algal oil; Krill oil; Polar lipids; Glycolipids; Phospholipids
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.
Suppressing hyperactive endocannabinoid tone is a critical target for reducing obesity. The backbone of both endocannabinoids 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) and anandamide (AEA) is the omega-6 fatty acid arachidonic acid (AA). Here we posited that excessive dietary intake of linoleic acid (LA), the precursor of AA, would induce endocannabinoid hyperactivity and promote obesity. Linoleic acid was isolated as an independent variable to reflect the dietary increase in LA from 1 percent of energy (en%) to 8 en% occurring in the US during the 20th century. Mice were fed diets containing 1 en% LA, 8 en% LA and 8 en% LA + 1 en% eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) + docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in medium fat diets (35 en% fat) and high fat diets (60 en%) for 14 weeks from weaning. Increasing LA from 1 en% to 8 en% elevated AA -phospholipids in liver and erythrocytes, tripled 2-AG+1-AG and AEA associated with increased food intake, feed efficiency and adiposity in mice. Reducing AA - phospholipids by adding 1en% long-chain omega-3 fats to 8 en% LA diets resulted in metabolic patterns resembling 1 en% LA diets. Selectively reducing LA to 1 en% reversed the obesogenic properties of a 60 en% fat diet. These animal diets modeled 20th century increases of human LA consumption, changes that closely correlate with increasing prevalence rates of obesity. In summary, dietary LA increased tissue AA, and subsequently elevated 2-AG+1-AG and AEA resulting in the development of diet-induced obesity. The adipogenic effect of LA can be prevented by consuming sufficient EPA and DHA to reduce the AA –phospholipid pool and normalize endocannabinoid tone.
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.