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1.  Distribution of Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Bacteria Present in Intestines of Deep-Sea Fish and Shallow-Sea Poikilothermic Animals 
The lipid and fatty acid compositions in nine obligate and facultative barophilic bacteria isolated from the intestinal contents of seven deep-sea fish were determined. Phospholipid compositions were simple, with phosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylglycerol predominating in all strains. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; 22:6n-3), which has not been reported in procaryotes except for deep-sea bacteria, was found to be present in eight strains at a level of 8.1 to 21.5% of total fatty acids. In the other strain, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA; 20:5n-3) was present at a level of 31.5% of total fatty acids. Other fatty acids observed in all strains were typical of marine gram-negative bacteria. Subcultures from pouches prepared from intestinal contents of five deep-sea fish by the most-probable-number (MPN) method were analyzed for fatty acids, and all subcultures contained DHA and/or EPA. Accordingly, viable cell counts of bacteria containing DHA and EPA were estimated at a maximum of 1.3 x 10(sup8) and 2.4 x 10(sup8) cells per ml, respectively, and accounted for 14 and 30%, respectively, of the total cell counts in the intestinal contents of the deep-sea fish. In the case of 10 shallow-sea poikilothermic animals having bacterial populations of 1.1 x 10(sup6) to 1.9 x 10(sup9) CFU per ml in intestinal contents, no DHA was found in the 112 isolates examined, while production of EPA was found in 40 isolates from cold- and temperate-sea samples. These results suggest that DHA and EPA are involved in some adaptations of bacteria to low temperature and high pressure.
PMCID: PMC1389193  PMID: 16535638
2.  Inhibition of Cytokine Signaling in Human Retinal Endothelial Cells through Modification of Caveolae/Lipid Rafts by Docosahexaenoic Acid 
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA22:6,n3) is the principal n3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) in the retina. The authors previously demonstrated that DHA22:6,n3 inhibited cytokine-induced adhesion molecule expression in primary human retinal vascular endothelial (hRVE) cells, the target tissue affected by diabetic retinopathy. Despite the importance of vascular inflammation in diabetic retinopathy, the mechanisms underlying anti-inflammatory effects of DHA22:6,n3 in vascular endothelial cells are not understood. In this study the authors address the hypothesis that DHA22:6,n3 acts through modifying lipid composition of caveolae/lipid rafts, thereby changing the outcome of important signaling events in these specialized plasma membrane microdomains.
hRVE cells were cultured in the presence or absence of DHA22:6,n3. Isolated caveolae/lipid raft–enriched detergent-resistant membrane domains were prepared using sucrose gradient ultracentrifugation. Fatty acid composition and cholesterol content of caveolae/lipid rafts before and after treatment were measured by HPLC. The expression of Src family kinases was assayed by Western blotting and immunohistochemistry.
Disruption of the caveolae/lipid raft structure with a cholesterol-depleting agent, methyl-cyclodextrin (MCD), diminished cytokine-induced signaling in hRVE cells. Growth of hRVE cells in media enriched in DHA22:6,n3 resulted in significant incorporation of DHA22:6,n3 into the major phospholipids of caveolae/lipid rafts, causing an increase in the unsaturation index in the membrane microdomain. DHA22:6,n3 enrichment in the caveolae/raft was accompanied by a 70% depletion of cholesterol from caveolae/lipid rafts and displacement of the SFK, Fyn, and c-Yes from caveolae/lipid rafts. Adding water-soluble cholesterol to DHA22:6,n3-treated cells replenished cholesterol in caveolae/lipid rafts and reversed the effect of DHA22:6,n3 on cytokine-induced signaling.
Incorporation of DHA22:6,n3 into fatty acyl chains of phospholipids in caveolae/lipid rafts, followed by cholesterol depletion and displacement of important signaling molecules, provides a potential mechanism for anti-inflammatory effect of DHA22:6,n3 in hRVE cells.
PMCID: PMC1975816  PMID: 17197511
3.  Short term effects of different omega-3 fatty acid formulation on lipid metabolism in mice fed high or low fat diet 
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.
PMCID: PMC3393618  PMID: 22676394
Omega-3 fatty acid; DHA; EPA; Lipid metabolism; Triglycerides; Ethyl ester; Phospholipids
4.  Plasma Phospholipid Fatty Acid Concentration and Incident Coronary Heart Disease in Men and Women: The EPIC-Norfolk Prospective Study 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(7):e1001255.
Kay-Tee Khaw and colleagues analyze data from a prospective cohort study and show associations between plasma concentrations of saturated phospholipid fatty acids and risk of coronary heart disease, and an inverse association between omega-6 polyunsaturated phospholipid fatty acids and risk of coronary heart disease.
The lack of association found in several cohort studies between dietary saturated fat and coronary heart disease (CHD) risk has renewed debate over the link between dietary fats and CHD.
Methods and Findings
We assessed the relationship between plasma phospholipid fatty acid (PFA) concentration and incident CHD using a nested case control design within a prospective study (EPIC-Norfolk) of 25,639 individuals aged 40–79 years examined in 1993–1997 and followed up to 2009. Plasma PFA concentrations were measured by gas chromatography in baseline samples retrieved from frozen storage. In 2,424 men and women with incident CHD compared with 4,930 controls alive and free of cardiovascular disease, mean follow-up 13 years, saturated PFA (14:0, 16:0,18:0) plasma concentrations were significantly associated with increased CHD risk (odds ratio [OR] 1.75, 95% CI 1.27–2.41, p<0.0001), in top compared to bottom quartiles (Q), and omega-6 polyunsaturated PFA concentrations were inversely related (OR 0.77, 0.60–0.99, p<0.05) after adjusting for age, sex, body mass index, blood pressure, smoking, alcohol intake, plasma vitamin C, social class, education, and other PFAs. Monounsaturated PFA, omega-3 PFA, and trans PFA concentrations were not significantly associated with CHD. Odd chain PFA (15:0, 17:0) concentrations were significantly inversely associated with CHD (OR 0.73, 0.59–0.91, p<0.001, Q4 versus Q1). Within families of saturated PFA or polyunsaturated PFA, significantly heterogeneous relationships with CHD were observed for individual fatty acids.
In this study, plasma concentrations of even chain saturated PFA were found to be positively and omega-6 polyunsaturated PFA inversely related to subsequent coronary heart disease risk. These findings are consistent with accumulating evidence suggesting a protective role of omega-6 fats substituting for saturated fats for CHD prevention.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a condition caused by a build-up of fatty deposits on the inner walls of the blood vessels that supply the heart, causing the affected person to experience pain, usually on exertion (angina). A complete occlusion of the vessel by deposits causes a heart attack (myocardial infarction). Lifestyle factors, such as diet (particularly one high in fat), contribute to causing CHD. There are different types of fat, some of which are thought to increase risk of CHD, such as saturated fat, typically found in meat and dairy foods. However, others, such as unsaturated fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats) found in foods such as vegetable oils, fish, and nuts, may actually help prevent this condition.
Why Was This Study Done?
Although there have been many studies investigating the role of different types of dietary fat in coronary heart disease, it is still not clear whether coronary heart disease can be prevented by changing the type of dietary fat consumed from saturated to unsaturated fats or by lowering all types of dietary fat. Furthermore, many of these studies have relied on participants recalling their dietary intake in questionnaires, which is an unreliable method for different fats. So in this study, the researchers used an established UK cohort to measure the levels of different types of fatty acids in blood to investigate whether a diet high in saturated fatty acids and low in unsaturated fatty acids increases CHD risk.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used a selection of 10,000 participants (all men and women aged 40–79 years) from the prospective European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (EPIC)-Norfolk cohort. Blood samples from the selected participants taken at the start of the study in 1993–1997 were analyzed to determine levels of specific fatty acids. Participants were followed up till 2011. The researchers identified 2,424 participants who were subsequently diagnosed with CHD using death certificates and hospital discharge data and matched these with 4,930 controls who were still alive and free of known coronary disease. The researchers grouped the type of blood fatty acids identified in the blood samples into six families (even chain saturated fatty acid, odd chain saturated fatty acid, omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid, monounsaturated fatty acid, and trans-fatty acid), which represented saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. Using statistical methods, the researchers then compared the risks of developing CHD between cases and controls by the concentration of fatty acid families after adjusting for age and sex and other factors, such as body mass index, physical activity, and smoking. Using these methods, the researchers found that there was no overall significant relationship between total blood fatty acid concentration and CHD but there was a positive association with increasing blood saturated fatty acid concentration after adjusting for other fatty acid concentrations, with an odds ratio of 1.83 comparing higher versus lower concentrations. This risk was attenuated after adjusting for cholesterol levels, indicating that much of the association between saturated fatty acid and CHD is likely to be mediated through blood cholesterol levels. In contrast, blood omega-6 poly-unsaturated fatty acid concentrations were associated with lower CHD risk. Blood monounsaturated fatty acids, omega-3 poly-unsaturated fatty acids, and trans-fatty acids were not consistently associated with CHD risk. The authors also noted that within families of fatty acids, individual fatty acids related differently to CHD risk.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that plasma concentrations of saturated fatty acids are associated with increased risk of CHD and that concentrations of omega-6 poly-unsaturated fatty acids are associated with decreased risk of CHD. These findings are consistent with other studies and with current dietary advice for preventing CHD, which encourages substituting foods high in saturated fat with n-6 polyunsaturated fats. The results also suggest that different fatty acids may relate differently to CHD risk and that the overall balance between different fatty acids is important. However, there are limitations to this study, such as that factors other than diet (genetic differences in metabolism, for example) may cause changes to blood fatty acid levels so a major question is to identify what factors influence blood fatty acid concentrations. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that individual fatty acids play a role in increasing or decreasing risks of CHD.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
Information about the EPIC-Norfolk study is available
The American Heart Foundation provides patient-friendly information about different dietary fats as does Medline
The British Heart Foundation also provides patient-friendly information on heart conditions
PMCID: PMC3389034  PMID: 22802735
5.  Dietary ω-3 Fatty Acids Alter Cardiac Mitochondrial Phospholipid Composition and Delay Ca2+-Induced Permeability Transition 
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.
PMCID: PMC2783943  PMID: 19703463
eicosapentaenoic acid; docosahexaenoic acid; myocardial infarction; mitochondrial permeability transition pore
6.  Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Inflammatory Processes 
Nutrients  2010;2(3):355-374.
Long chain fatty acids influence inflammation through a variety of mechanisms; many of these are mediated by, or at least associated with, changes in fatty acid composition of cell membranes. Changes in these compositions can modify membrane fluidity, cell signaling leading to altered gene expression, and the pattern of lipid mediator production. Cell involved in the inflammatory response are typically rich in the n-6 fatty acid arachidonic acid, but the contents of arachidonic acid and of the n-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) can be altered through oral administration of EPA and DHA. Eicosanoids produced from arachidonic acid have roles in inflammation. EPA also gives rise to eicosanoids and these often have differing properties from those of arachidonic acid-derived eicosanoids. EPA and DHA give rise to newly discovered resolvins which are anti-inflammatory and inflammation resolving. Increased membrane content of EPA and DHA (and decreased arachidonic acid content) results in a changed pattern of production of eicosanoids and resolvins. Changing the fatty acid composition of cells involved in the inflammatory response also affects production of peptide mediators of inflammation (adhesion molecules, cytokines etc.). Thus, the fatty acid composition of cells involved in the inflammatory response influences their function; the contents of arachidonic acid, EPA and DHA appear to be especially important. The anti-inflammatory effects of marine n-3 PUFAs suggest that they may be useful as therapeutic agents in disorders with an inflammatory component.
PMCID: PMC3257651  PMID: 22254027
leukocyte; neutrophil; macrophage; monocyte; eicosanoid; cytokine; interleukin; fish oil
7.  Effect of fish oils containing different amounts of EPA, DHA, and antioxidants on plasma and brain fatty acids and brain nitric oxide synthase activity in rats 
Upsala Journal of Medical Sciences  2009;114(4):206-213.
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.
PMCID: PMC2852776  PMID: 19961266
Antioxidants; brain; DHA; EPA; fish oil; lipid peroxidation; nitric oxide synthase
8.  Docosahexaenoic acid-induced unfolded protein response, cell cycle arrest, and apoptosis in vascular smooth muscle cells are triggered by Ca2+-dependent induction of oxidative stress 
Free Radical Biology & Medicine  2012;52(9):1786-1795.
Proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells is a characteristic of pathological vascular remodeling and represents a significant therapeutic challenge in several cardiovascular diseases. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a member of the n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, was shown to inhibit proliferation of numerous cell types, implicating several different mechanisms. In this study we examined the molecular events underlying the inhibitory effects of DHA on proliferation of primary human smooth muscle cells isolated from small pulmonary artery (hPASMCs). DHA concentration-dependently inhibited hPASMC proliferation, induced G1 cell cycle arrest, and decreased cyclin D1 protein expression. DHA activated the unfolded protein response (UPR), evidenced by increased mRNA expression of HSPA5, increased phosphorylation of eukaryotic initiation factor 2α, and splicing of X-box binding protein 1. DHA altered cellular lipid composition and led to increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. DHA-induced ROS were dependent on both intracellular Ca2+ release and entry of extracellular Ca2+. Overall cellular ROS and mitochondrial ROS were decreased by RU360, a specific inhibitor of mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake. DHA-induced mitochondrial dysfunction was evidenced by decreased mitochondrial membrane potential and decreased cellular ATP content. DHA triggered apoptosis as found by increased numbers of cleaved caspase-3- and TUNEL-positive cells. The free radical scavenger Tempol counteracted DHA-induced ROS, cell cycle arrest, induction of UPR, and apoptosis. We conclude that Ca2+-dependent oxidative stress is the central and initial event responsible for induction of UPR, cell cycle arrest, and apoptosis in DHA-treated hPASMCs.
► DHA induces ROS production, cell cycle arrest, UPR and apoptosis in hPASMC. ► Ca2+ and mitochondria are required for DHA-mediated induction of ROS. ► DHA alters cellular lipid composition and decreases ΔΨm and cellular ATP content. ► Free radical scavenger Tempol counteracts DHA effects in hPASMC.
PMCID: PMC3482662  PMID: 22391221
ATF6, activating transcription factor 6; DHA, docosahexaenoic acid; ΔΨm, mitochondrial membrane potential; eIF2α, eukaryotic initiation factor 2α; ER, endoplasmic reticulum; FCS, fetal calf serum; hPASMC, human pulmonary artery smooth muscle cell; HSPA5, heat shock 70-kDa protein 5; IRE1α, inositol-requiring enzyme 1α; n-3 PUFA, n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid; PERK, protein kinase RNA-like endoplasmic reticulum kinase; PC, phosphatidylcholine; PE, phosphatidylethanolamine; PTP, permeability transition pore; ROS, reactive oxygen species; TG, triglyceride; UPR, unfolded protein response; XBP-1, X-box binding protein 1; Oxidative stress; Unfolded protein response; n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid; Apoptosis; Mitochondria; Cell cycle; Free radicals
9.  Dietary saturated fat and docosahexaenoic acid differentially effect cardiac mitochondrial phospholipid fatty acyl composition and Ca2+ uptake, without altering permeability transition or left ventricular function 
Physiological Reports  2013;1(1):e00009.
High saturated fat diets improve cardiac function and survival in rodent models of heart failure, which may be mediated by changes in mitochondrial function. Dietary supplementation with the n3-polyunsaturated fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n3) is also beneficial in heart failure and can affect mitochondrial function. Saturated fatty acids and DHA likely have opposing effects on mitochondrial phospholipid fatty acyl side chain composition and mitochondrial membrane function, though a direct comparison has not been previously reported. We fed healthy adult rats a standard low-fat diet (11% of energy intake from fat), a low-fat diet supplemented with DHA (2.3% of energy intake) or a high-fat diet comprised of long chain saturated fatty acids (45% fat) for 6 weeks. There were no differences among the three diets in cardiac mass or function, mitochondrial respiration, or Ca2+-induced mitochondrial permeability transition. On the other hand, there were dramatic differences in mitochondrial phospholipid fatty acyl side chains. Dietary supplementation with DHA increased DHA from 7% to ∼25% of total phospholipid fatty acids in mitochondrial membranes, and caused a proportional depletion of arachidonic acid (20:4n6). The saturated fat diet increased saturated fat and DHA in mitochondria and decreased linoleate (18:2n6), which corresponded to a decrease in Ca2+ uptake by isolated mitochondria compared to the other diet groups. In conclusion, despite dramatic changes in mitochondrial phospholipid fatty acyl side chain composition by both the DHA and high saturated fat diets, there were no effects on mitochondrial respiration, permeability transition, or cardiac function.
PMCID: PMC3831937  PMID: 24303101
Cardiovascular; mitochondria; n3-polyunsaturated fatty acids; nutrition; phospholipid; saturated fatty acids
10.  Docosahexaenoic Acid Supplementation Does Not Improve Western Diet-Induced Cardiomyopathy in Rats 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e51994.
Obesity increases risk for cardiomyopathy in the absence of hypertension, diabetes or ischemia. The fatty acid milieu, modulated by diet, may modify myocardial structure and function, lending partial explanation for the array of cardiomyopathic phenotypy. We sought to identify gross, cellular and ultrastructural myocardial changes associated with Western diet intake, and subsequent modification with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) supplementation. Wistar and Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats received 1 of 3 diets: control (CON); Western (WES); Western + DHA (WES+DHA). After 12 weeks of treatment, echocardiography was performed and myocardial adiponectin, fatty acids, collagen, area occupied by lipid and myocytes, and ultrastructure were determined. Strain effects included higher serum adiponectin in Wistar rats, and differences in myocardial fatty acid composition. Diet effects were evident in that both WES and WES+DHA feeding were associated with similarly increased left ventricular (LV) diastolic cranial wall thickness (LVWcr/d) and decreased diastolic internal diameter (LVIDd), compared to CON. Unexpectedly, WES+DHA feeding was associated additionally with increased thickness of the LV cranial wall during systole (LVWcr/s) and the caudal wall during diastole (LVWca/d) compared to CON; this was observed concomitantly with increased serum and myocardial adiponectin. Diastolic dysfunction was present in WES+DHA rats compared to both WES and CON. Myocyte cross sectional area (CSA) was greater in WES compared to CON rats. In both fat-fed groups, transmission electron microscopy (TEM) revealed myofibril degeneration, disorganized mitochondrial cristae, lipid inclusions and vacuolation. In the absence of hypertension and whole body insulin resistance, WES+DHA intake was associated with more global LV thickening and with diastolic dysfunction, compared to WES feeding alone. Myocyte hypertrophy, possibly related to subcellular injury, is an early change that may contribute to gross hypertrophy. Strain differences in adipokines and myocardial fatty acid accretion may underlie heterogeneous data from rodent studies.
PMCID: PMC3530602  PMID: 23300587
11.  Acrolein-derived DNA adduct formation in human colon cancer cells: its role in apoptosis induction by docosahexaenoic acid 
Chemical research in toxicology  2009;22(5):798-806.
The apoptotic effects of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and other ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have been documented in cell and animal studies. The molecular mechanism by which DHA induces apoptosis is unclear. Although there is no direct evidence, some studies have suggested that DNA damage generated through lipid peroxidation may be involved. Our previous studies showed that DHA, because it is high degree of unsaturation, can give rise to the acrolein-derived 1,N2-propanodeoxyguanosine (Acr-dG) as a major class of DNA adducts via lipid oxidation. As a first step to investigate the possible role of oxidative DNA damage in apoptosis induced by DHA, we examined the relationships between oxidative DNA damage and apoptosis caused by DHA in human colon cancer HT-29 cells. The apoptosis and oxidative DNA damage, including Acr-dG and 8-oxo-deoxyguanosine (8-oxo-dG) formation, in cells treated with DHA and ω-6 PUFAs, including arachidonic acid (AA) and linoleic acid (LA), were measured. DHA induced apoptosis in a dose- and time-dependent manner with a concentration range from 0 to 300 µM as indicated by increased caspase-3 activity and PARP cleavage. In contrast, AA and LA had little or no effect at these concentrations. The Acr-dG levels were increased in HT-29 cells treated with DHA at 240 and 300µM, and the increases were correlated with the induction of apoptosis at these concentrations, while no significant changes were observed for 8-oxo-dG. Because proteins may compete with DNA to react with Acr, we then examined the effects of BSA on the DHA induced apoptosis and oxidative DNA damage. The addition of BSA to HT-29 cell culture media significantly decreases Acr-dG levels with a concomitant decrease in the apoptosis induced by DHA. The reduced Acr-dG formation is attributed to the reaction of BSA with acrolein as indicated by increased levels of total protein carbonyls. Similar correlations between Acr-dG formation and apoptosis were observed in HT-29 cells directly incubated with 0 to 200µM of acrolein. Additionally, DHA treatment increased level of DNA strand breaks and caused cell cycle arrested at G1 phase. Taken together, these results demonstrate the parallel relationships between the Acr-dG level and apoptosis in HT-29 cells, suggesting that the formation of Acr-dG in cellular DNA may contribute to apoptosis induced by DHA.
PMCID: PMC2683896  PMID: 19341237
polyunsaturated fatty acids; apoptosis; chemoprevention; colon cancer; docosahexaenoic acid (DHA); arachidonic acid (AA); linoleic (LA); acrolein; 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal; cyclic deoxyguanosine adducts; oxidative DNA damage; 32P-postlabeling
12.  Genetic Regulation of Unsaturated Fatty Acid Composition in C. elegans 
PLoS Genetics  2006;2(7):e108.
Delta-9 desaturases, also known as stearoyl-CoA desaturases, are lipogenic enzymes responsible for the generation of vital components of membranes and energy storage molecules. We have identified a novel nuclear hormone receptor, NHR-80, that regulates delta-9 desaturase gene expression in Caenorhabditis elegans. Here we describe fatty acid compositions, lifespans, and gene expression studies of strains carrying mutations in nhr-80 and in the three genes encoding delta-9 desaturases, fat-5, fat-6, and fat-7. The delta-9 desaturase single mutants display only subtle changes in fatty acid composition and no other visible phenotypes, yet the fat-5;fat-6;fat-7 triple mutant is lethal, revealing that endogenous production of monounsaturated fatty acids is essential for survival. In the absence of FAT-6 or FAT-7, the expression of the remaining desaturases increases, and this ability to compensate depends on NHR-80. We conclude that, like mammals, C. elegans requires adequate synthesis of unsaturated fatty acids and maintains complex regulation of the delta-9 desaturases to achieve optimal fatty acid composition.
The ratio of saturated to unsaturated fatty acids has a profound affect on the fluidity and function of cellular membranes. Animals, plants, and microorganisms regulate the synthesis of unsaturated fatty acids during changing environmental conditions, as well as in response to dietary nutrients. In this paper the authors use a combination of genetic and biochemical approaches to address the regulation of unsaturated fatty acid synthesis in the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans. They identify a new transcription factor, NHR-80, that activates the expression of genes encoding delta-9 fatty acid desaturases, the enzymes responsible for catalyzing the insertion of double bonds into saturated fatty acid chains. These unsaturated fatty acids are critical components of membranes, as well as fat storage molecules. Experiments presented here demonstrate that the worms require adequate synthesis of unsaturated fatty acids for survival and that they maintain intricate regulation of the three delta-9 desaturase genes in response to different nutrients. Abnormalities in lipid metabolism lead to obesity and diabetes in humans; this study contributes to our understanding of the regulation of this metabolic pathway.
PMCID: PMC1500810  PMID: 16839188
13.  Novel Lysophospholipid Acyltransferase PLAT1 of Aurantiochytrium limacinum F26-b Responsible for Generation of Palmitate-Docosahexaenoate-Phosphatidylcholine and Phosphatidylethanolamine 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e102377.
N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3), have been reported to play roles in preventing cardiovascular diseases. The major source of DHA is fish oils but a recent increase in the global demand of DHA and decrease in fish stocks require a substitute. Thraustochytrids, unicellular marine protists belonging to the Chromista kingdom, can synthesize large amounts of DHA, and, thus, are expected to be an alternative to fish oils. DHA is found in the acyl chain(s) of phospholipids as well as triacylglycerols in thraustochytrids; however, how thraustochytrids incorporate DHA into phospholipids remains unknown. We report here a novel lysophospholipid acyltransferase (PLAT1), which is responsible for the generation of DHA-containing phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylethanolamine in thraustochytrids. The PLAT1 gene, which was isolated from the genomic DNA of Aurantiochytrium limacinum F26-b, was expressed in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and the FLAG-tagged recombinant enzyme was characterized after purification with anti-FLAG affinity gel. PLAT1 shows wide specificity for donor substrates as well as acceptor substrates in vitro, i.e, the enzyme can adopt lysophosphatidylcholine, lysophosphatidylethanolamine, lysophosphatidylserine and lysophosphatidylinositol as acceptor substrates, and 15:0/16:0-CoA and DHA-CoA as donor substrates. In contrast to the in vitro experiment, only lysophosphatidylcholine acyltransferase and lysophosphatidylethanolamine acyltransferase activities were decreased in plat1-knockout mutants, resulting in a decrease of 16:0-DHA-phosphatidylcholine (PC) [PC(38∶6)] and 16:0-DHA-phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) [PE(38∶6)], which are two major DHA-containing phospholipids in A. limacinum F26-b. However, the amounts of other phospholipid species including DHA-DHA-PC [PC(44∶12)] and DHA-DHA-PE [PE(44∶12)] were almost the same in plat-knockout mutants and the wild-type. These results indicate that PLAT1 is the enzyme responsible for the generation of 16:0-DHA-PC and 16:0-DHA-PE in the thraustochytrid.
PMCID: PMC4121067  PMID: 25090090
14.  Effect of culture conditions on growth, lipid content, and fatty acid composition of Aurantiochytrium mangrovei strain BL10 
AMB Express  2012;2:42.
This study explored the influence of various culture conditions on the biomass, lipid content, production of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and fatty acid composition of Aurantiochytrium mangrovei strain BL10. The variables examined in this study include the species and concentration of salt, the concentrations of the two substrates glucose and yeast extract, the level of dissolved oxygen, the cerulenin treatment, and the stages of BL10 growth. Our results demonstrate that BL10 culture produces maximum biomass when salinity levels are between 0.2 and 3.0%. Decreasing salinity to 0.1% resulted in a considerable decrease in the biomass, lipid content, DHA production, and DHA to palmitic acid (PA) (DHA/PA) ratio, signifying deterioration in the quality of the oil produced. The addition of 0.9% sodium sulfate to replenish salinity from 0.1% to 1.0% successfully recovered biomass, lipid content and DHA production levels; however, this also led to a decrease in DHA/PA ratio. An increase in oxygen and cerulenin levels resulted in a concomitant decrease in the DHA to docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) (DHA/DPA) ratio in BL10 oil. Furthermore, the DHA/DPA and DHA/PA ratios varied considerably before and after the termination of cell division, which occurred around the 24 hour mark. These results could serve as a foundation for elucidating the biochemistry underlying the accumulation of lipids, and a definition of the extrinsic (environmental or nutritional) and intrinsic (cell growth stage) factors that influence lipid quality and the production of DHA by BL10.
PMCID: PMC3485123  PMID: 22883641
Lipid; Polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA); Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA); Aurantiochytrium mangrovei; Thraustochytrid
15.  Determinants of DHA incorporation into tumor tissue during dietary DHA supplementation 
Lipids  2011;46(11):1063-1069.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), upon incorporation into tumor tissue, has the potential to sensitize tumors to the effects of chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Although DHA has usually been supplied to tumor tissue in the diet, appropriate dietary conditions required to obtain optimal tumor levels have not been established. Hence, we studied mammary tumor tissue responses in rats fed various durations and doses of DHA. Rats fed a palm-oil enriched diet (diet 0) were switched to diets providing either 0.8 g DHA/d (diet 1) or 1.5 g DHA/d (diet 2). Tumor tissue fatty acid composition was analysed at baseline (diet 0), at weeks 1, 4 and 9 during diet 1 and at week 4 during diet 2. Dietary DHA supplementation differentially increased DHA within phospholipids (PL) and triacylglycerol (TAG) fractions in tumors. DHA level equilibrated between 2 and 4 weeks in PL while DHA increase was more progressive in TAG and did not reach a steady state. A higher dose of DHA further increased DHA content in tumor PL and TAG (P = 0.018 and P < 0.001 respectively). DHA concentration in plasma PL was positively correlated with DHA in tumor PL (r = 0.72; P = 0.0003) and TAG (r = 0.64; P = 0.003). We conclude that dietary DHA supplementation enhances tumor content of DHA in a time- and dose-dependent manner, and that DHA level in plasma PL could be used as a proxy for tumor DHA. These findings have implications for dietary DHA supplementations in cancer patients.
PMCID: PMC3563367  PMID: 21638063
Animals; Carcinoma; chemically induced; metabolism; Dietary Fats; metabolism; Dietary Supplements; Docosahexaenoic Acids; blood; metabolism; Fatty Acids; metabolism; Female; Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental; chemically induced; metabolism; Methylnitrosourea; Phospholipids; metabolism; Rats; Rats, Sprague-Dawley; Tissue Distribution; Triglycerides; metabolism; DHA incorporation; dietary DHA supplementation; mammary tumors; tumor phospholipids; tumor triacylglycerol; plasma phospholipids
16.  Interactions of Drugs and Amphiphiles with Membranes: Modulation of Lipid Bilayer Elastic Properties by Changes in Acyl Chain Unsaturation and Protonation 
Faraday discussions  2013;161:461-589.
Poly-unsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) alter the function of many membrane proteins, whereas monounsatured fatty acids generally are inert. We previously showed that docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) at pH 7 decreases the bilayer stiffness, consistent with an amphiphile-induced increase in elasticity, but not with a negative change in curvature; oleic acid (OA) was inert (Bruno, Koeppe and Andersen, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 104:9638–9643, 2007). To further explore how PUFAs and other amphiphiles may alter lipid bilayer properties, and thus membrane protein function, we examined how changes in acyl chain unsaturation, and head group charge and size, alter bilayer properties, as sensed by bilayer-spanning gramicidin A (gA) channels of different lengths. Compared to DHA, the neutral DHA-methyl ester has reduced effects on bilayer properties, and 1-palmitoyl-2-docosahexaenoyl-phosphatidylcholine (PDPC) forms bilayers that are softer than dioleoylphosphatidylcholine (DOPC). The changes in channel function are larger for the short gA channels, indicating that changes in elasticity dominate over changes in curvature. We altered the fatty acid protonation by titration: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is more potent at pH 9 (relative to pH 7) and is inert at pH 4; OA, which was inert at pH 7, becomes a potent modifier of bilayer properties at pH 9. At both pH 7 and 9, DHA and OA produced larger changes in the lifetimes of the short gA channels, demonstrating that they increase lipid bilayer elasticity when deprotonated—though OA promotes the formation of inverted hexagonal phases at pH 7. The positively charged oleylamine (OAm), which has a small head-group and therefore should be a negative curvature promoter, inhibited gA channel function, with similar reductions in the lifetimes of the short and long gA channels, indicating a curvature-dominated effect. Monitoring the single-channel conductance, we find that the negatively charged fatty acids increase the conductance by increasing the local negative charge around the channel, whereas the positively charged OAm has no effect. These results suggest that deprotonated fatty acids increase bilayer elasticity by reversibly adsorbing at the bilayer/solution interface.
PMCID: PMC3703894  PMID: 23805753
17.  Biochemical studies on cell fusion. II. Control of fusion response by lipid alteration 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1985;101(4):1591-1598.
The preceding communication (Roos, D.S. and P.W. Choppin, 1985, J. Cell Biol. 101:1578-1590) described the lipid composition of a series of mouse fibroblast cell lines which vary in susceptibility to the fusogenic effects of polyethylene glycol (PEG). Two alterations in lipid content were found to be directly correlated with resistance to PEG-induced cell fusion: increases in fatty acyl chain saturation, and the elevation of neutral glycerides, including an unusual ether-linked compound. In this study, we have probed the association between lipid composition and cell fusion through the use of fatty acid supplements to the cellular growth medium, and show that the fusibility of cells can be controlled by altering their acyl chain composition. The parental Clone 1D cells contain moderately unsaturated fatty acids with a ratio of saturates to polyunsaturates (S/P) approximately 1 and fuse virtually to completion following a standard PEG treatment. By contrast, the lipids of a highly fusion-resistant mutant cell line, F40, are highly saturated (S/P approximately 4). When the S/P ratio of Clone 1D cells was increased to approximate that normally found in F40 cells by growth in the presence of high concentrations of saturated fatty acids, they became highly resistant to PEG. Reduction of the S/P ratio of F40 cells by growth in cis-polyunsaturated fatty acids rendered them susceptible to fusion. Cell lines F8, F16, etc., which are normally intermediate between Clone 1D and F40 in both lipid composition and fusion response, can be altered in either direction (towards either increased or decreased susceptibility to fusion) by the addition of appropriate fatty acids to the growth medium. Although trans-unsaturated fatty acids have phase-transition temperatures roughly similar to saturated compounds, and might therefore be expected to affect membrane fluidity in a similar manner, trans-unsaturated fatty acids exerted the same effect as cis-unsaturates on the control of PEG-induced cell fusion. This observation suggests that the control of cell fusion by alteration of fatty acid content is not due to changes in membrane fluidity, and thus that the fatty acids are involved in some other way in the modulation of cell fusion.
PMCID: PMC2113917  PMID: 4044646
18.  Fatty acid composition of subcutaneous adipose tissue and gastric mucosa: is there a relation with gastric ulceration? 
Both in vitro and epidemiological studies indicate that dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids may play a protective role against peptic ulcer in humans. Adipose tissue fatty acid composition is thought to reflect dietary fatty acid intake. The aim of the present study is to investigate adipose and gastric mucosa fatty acid levels in relation to gastric ulceration status.
Fifty two adult outpatients undergoing upper gastrointestinal tract endoscopy participated in the study. Adipose tissue samples were taken from the abdomen and buttock during the endoscopy procedure and samples from gastric tissue were taken from a subsample of 30 subjects. The presence of Helicobacter pylori was determined using the CLO test. Capillary gas chromatography was used for the extraction of 36 and 42 adipose tissue and gastric mucosa lipids respectively.
The monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) C18:1n-12c, C16:1n-5, C16:4n-1 and the polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) C16:3n-4, C20:3n-3, C20:4n-6, C21:5n-3 and C18:2n-9c,12t of the gastric mucosa were present in higher proportions in ulcer negative patients. These unsaturated fatty acids, however, each contributed less than 1% on average to total fatty acid content. In addition, higher average levels of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) C20:5n-3 and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) C22:6n-3 were detected in abdominal and buttock samples in CLO negative controls, compared to CLO positive controls. Adipose tissue and gastric mucosa n-6 and trans fatty acid levels were positively linearly correlated (r = 0.37 and 0.41 for n-6 and trans fatty acids respectively).
Certain minor MUFAs and PUFAs of the gastric mucosa appear to be present in higher proportions in ulcer negative patients. Overall, the findings provide only weak evidence of an association between the gastric mucosal fatty acids and the presence of gastric ulceration. The higher average levels of EPA and DHA in abdominal and buttock adipose tissue in CLO negative controls could be an indicator that dietary FAs inhibit Helicobacter pylori growth. Larger studies are necessary to provide evidence of a biologically relevant effect.
PMCID: PMC2636823  PMID: 19166613
19.  Electron Impact Mass Spectroscopic Studies on Mouse Retinal Fatty Acids 
Ophthalmic Research  2009;42(1):9-14.
The primary objective of these investigations was to determine the fatty acid composition of the mouse retina as affected by diabetes. Additionally, in order to ascertain if there is any accumulation of lipids in the diabetic retina as occurs in many diabetic tissues, its total fatty acid content was also determined.
Lipids in the retina of normal and diabetic mice were trans-methylated with methanolic HCl. The esters so prepared were analyzed for fatty acids by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, qualitatively as well as quantitatively.
The major fatty acids in the retina were palmitic (PA), oleic (OA), stearic (SA), arachidonic (AA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA) acids. The content of all these fatty acids increased significantly in the diabetic retina, reflecting lipidosis. The major increases (∼3 times the normal) were found in PA, OA, SA and AA. The increase in DHA, however, was much less (∼1.4 times). The relative percentages of fatty acids were also affected. While the relative percentages of PA and OA increased in the diabetic retina, there were insignificant changes in the percentages of SA and AA. Interestingly, the relative percentage of DHA underwent a significant decrease, about 50% of the normal.
The results show that there is excessive accumulation of lipids in the diabetic retina. This is consistent with the known increased mobilization of lipids from the adipose tissue and their accumulation in other tissues under diabetic conditions. On a percentage profile basis, while the relative percentage of most of the fatty acids increased, the DHA percentage significantly decreased. This could be explained by its dilution by the fatty acids coming from the fat depots which lack DHA. Physiologically, the excessive accumulation of fatty acids in the diabetic retina correlates with the lipofuscinosis and neural dysfunction associated with this disease.
PMCID: PMC3712809  PMID: 19478535
Fatty acids; Diabetic retina; Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry of fatty acids
20.  Starvation Response of the Marine Barophile CNPT-3 
The psychrophilic marine barophile CNPT-3 underwent a starvation-survival response similar to that reported for the marine bacteria Ant-300, DW1, and S-14. The number of culturable cells increased initially and then decreased gradually over a 24-day starvation period, with corresponding decreases in total cell number and direct viability count. A significant reduction in cell size and biovolume accompanied these changes. Starved cells demonstrated a greater tendency to attach at the in situ pressure (400 atm; ca. 40.5 MPa) and temperature (5°C) than at 1 atm (ca. 101 kPa), and the extent of attachment increased with increasing duration of starvation. The membrane fatty acid profile of the marine barophile CNPT-3 was studied as the cells were subjected to starvation conditions. A 37.5% increase in saturated fatty acids was observed during the first 8 days of starvation, with a concomitant decrease in unsaturated fatty acids. There was also an increase in the amount of short-chain (
PMCID: PMC195799  PMID: 16348747
A trans unsaturated fatty acid was found as a major constituent in the lipids of Pseudomonas putida P8. The fatty acid was identified as 9-trans-hexadecenoic acid by gas chromatography, argentation thin-layer chromatography, and infrared absorption spectrometry. Growing cells of P. putida P8 reacted to the presence of sublethal concentrations of phenol in the medium with changes in the fatty acid composition of the lipids, thereby increasing the degree of saturation. At phenol concentrations which completely inhibited the growth of P. putida, the cells were still able to increase the content of the trans unsaturated fatty acid and simultaneously to decrease the proportion of the corresponding 9-cis-hexadecenoic acid. This conversion of fatty acids was also induced by 4-chlorophenol in nongrowing cells in which the de novo synthesis of lipids had stopped, as shown by incorporation experiments with labeled acetate. The isomerization of the double bond in the presence of chloramphenicol indicates a constitutively operating enzyme system. The cis-to-trans modification of the fatty acids studied here apparently is a new way of adapting the membrane fluidity to the presence of phenols, thereby compensating for the elevation of membrane permeability induced by these toxic substances.
PMCID: PMC195693  PMID: 1622260
British Journal of Cancer  1997;75(5):650-655.
Unsaturated fatty acids, including n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) such as docosahexaenoic acid (C22:6, DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (C20:5, EPA), and a series of n-6 PUFAs were investigated for their anti-tumour and antimetastatic effects in a subcutaneous (s.c.) implanted highly metastatic colon carcinoma 26 (Co 26Lu) model. EPA and DHA exerted significant inhibitory effects on tumour growth at the implantation site and significantly decreased the numbers of lung metastatic nodules. Oleic acid also significantly inhibited lung metastatic nodules. Treatment with arachidonic acid showed a tendency for reduction in colonization. However, treatment with high doses of fatty acids, especially linoleic acid, increased the numbers of lung metastatic nodules. DHA and EPA only inhibited lung colonizations when administered together with the tumour cells, suggesting that their incorporation is necessary for an influence to be exerted. Chromatography confirmed that contents of fatty acids in both tumour tissues and plasma were indeed affected by the treatments. Tumour cells pretreated with fatty acids in vivo, in particular DHA, also showed a low potential for lung colony formation when transferred to new hosts. Thus, DHA treatment exerted marked antimetastatic activity associated with pronounced change in the fatty acid component of tumour cells. The results indicate that uptake of DHA into tumour cells results in altered tumour cell membrane characteristics and a decreased ability to metastasize.
PMCID: PMC2063338  PMID: 9043019
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and DHA-containing ethanolamine plasmalogens (PlsEtn) are decreased in the brain, liver and the circulation in Alzheimer's disease. Decreased supply of plasmalogen precursors to the brain by the liver, as a result of peroxisomal deficits is a process that probably starts early in the AD disease process. To overcome this metabolic compromise, we have designed an orally bioavailable DHA-containing ether lipid precursor of plasmalogens. PPI-1011 is an alkyl-diacyl plasmalogen precursor with palmitic acid at sn-1, DHA at sn-2 and lipoic acid at sn-3. This study outlines the oral pharmacokinetics of this precursor and its conversion to PlsEtn and phosphatidylethanolamines (PtdEtn).
Rabbits were dosed orally with PPI-1011 in hard gelatin capsules for time-course and dose response studies. Incorporation into PlsEtn and PtdEtn was monitored by LC-MS/MS. Metabolism of released lipoic acid was monitored by GC-MS. To monitor the metabolic fate of different components of PPI-1011, we labeled the sn-1 palmitic acid, sn-2 DHA and glycerol backbone with13C and monitored their metabolic fates by LC-MS/MS.
PPI-1011 was not detected in plasma suggesting rapid release of sn-3 lipoic acid via gut lipases. This conclusion was supported by peak levels of lipoic acid metabolites in the plasma 3 hours after dosing. While PPI-1011 did not gain access to the plasma, it increased circulating levels of DHA-containing PlsEtn and PtdEtn. Labeling experiments demonstrated that the PtdEtn increases resulted from increased availability of DHA released via remodeling at sn-2 of phospholipids derived from PPI-1011. This release of DHA peaked at 6 hrs while increases in phospholipids peaked at 12 hr. Increases in circulating PlsEtn were more complex. Labeling experiments demonstrated that increases in the target PlsEtn, 16:0/22:6, consisted of 2 pools. In one pool, the intact precursor received a sn-3 phosphoethanolamine group and desaturation at sn-1 to generate the target plasmalogen. The second pool, like the PtdEtn, resulted from increased availability of DHA released during remodeling of sn-2. In the case of sn-1 18:0 and 18:1 plasmalogens with [13C3]DHA at sn-2, labeling was the result of increased availability of [13C3]DHA from lipid remodeling. Isotope and repeated dosing (2 weeks) experiments also demonstrated that plasmalogens and/or plasmalogen precursors derived from PPI-1011 are able to cross both the blood-retinal and blood-brain barriers.
Our data demonstrate that PPI-1011, an ether lipid precursor of plasmalogens is orally bioavailable in the rabbit, augmenting the circulating levels of unesterified DHA and DHA-containing PlsEtn and PtdEtn. Other ethanolamine plasmalogens were generated from the precursor via lipid remodeling (de-acylation/re-acylation reactions at sn-2) and phosphatidylethanolamines were generated via de-alkylation/re-acylation reactions at sn-1. Repeated oral dosing for 2 weeks with PPI-1011 resulted in dose-dependent increases in circulating DHA and DHA-containing plasmalogens. These products and/or precursors were also able to cross the blood-retinal and blood-brain barriers.
PMCID: PMC3260122  PMID: 22142382
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.
PMCID: PMC3718725  PMID: 23855409
Omega-3; Eicosapentaenoic acid; Docosahexaenoic acid; Algal oil; Krill oil; Polar lipids; Glycolipids; Phospholipids
Journal of diabetes mellitus  2012;2(4):393-401.
Although abnormalities in the fatty acid composition of serum and red cell membrane phospholipids of patients with type 2 diabetes are well-documented, lacking are studies of this issue in prediabetic individuals.
For this cross-sectional study, we recruited 180 subjects (30–80 years), 56 of whom were normal with regard to glucose control (HbA1c, <5.7%), 61 who had prediabetes (HbA1c, 5.7%–6.4%) and 59 who had type 2 diabetes (HbA1c, >6.5%). Serum phospholipids were isolated and analyzed for fatty acids.
Most importantly, the fatty acid compositions of the controls and prediabetic subjects were not different for 19 fatty acids. However, the fatty acid profile of the phospholipids of the patients with diabetes differed from the other two groups; the 14 to 18-carbon saturated fatty acids were decreased by 12%–26% whereas the unsaturated fatty acids 16:1n-7, 18:1n-9, 18:2n-6, 20:3n-6 and 20:4n-6 were increased by 45%–64%. Of note, the docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) status of individuals in all three study groups was remarkably low compared with international values, as indicated by DHA proportions in the 1.62%–2.07% range, and there were no differences between groups. The mean melting point of the phospholipid fatty acids of the diabetic patients (32.2°C) was significantly lower (p < 0.001) than that of the prediabetic subjects (38.1°C) and the controls (39.9°C) which were not different from each other.
These observations indicate that the fatty acid changes associated with type 2 diabetes follow the onset of the disease as opposed to being a causative factor of poor glucose control and insulin insensitivity.
PMCID: PMC4235577  PMID: 25414798
Pre-Diabetes; Type 2 Diabetes; Fatty Acids; Phospholipids; Fluidity

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