Document Detail

The ratio of n-6 to n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in the rat diet alters serum lipid levels and lymphocyte functions.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  8827697     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Previous studies have reported that feeding rats diets rich in fish oils, which contain high proportions of the n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids, results in lowering of blood lipid levels and suppression of lymphocyte functions tested ex vivo and in vivo. The effects of other n-3 PUFA, such as alpha-linolenic acid, which is found in high proportions in linseed oil, are not as well documented. Therefore, in the present study, weanling male rats were fed for six weeks on one of five high-fat (20% by weight) diets made by mixing together sunflower and linseed oils; the resulting blends had n-6/n-3 PUFA ratios of 112.5:1 (pure sunflower oil), 14.8:1, 6.5:1, 0.81:1, and 0.33:1 (pure linseed oil); the levels of all other components in the diet were identical. The final body weight and total dissectable fat were lowest in rats fed the pure linseed oil diet. Serum cholesterol, triacylglycerol and nonesterified fatty acid concentrations decreased as the n-6/n-3 PUFA ratio of the diet decreased. The fatty acid composition of the serum and of spleen lymphocytes was influenced by the diet fed-there was a progressive decrease in the proportions of linoleic and arachidonic acids and a progressive increase in the proportion of alpha-linolenic acid as the n-6/n-3 PUFA ratio of the diet decreased. Eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids were detected in the serum but not in spleen lymphocytes. Inclusion of alpha-linolenic acid in the diet resulted in significant suppression of spleen lymphocyte proliferation in response to the T-cell mitogen concanavalin A and in spleen lymphocyte natural killer cell activity, both measured ex vivo. The localized graft vs. host response, a measure of cell-mediated immunity in vivo, progressively decreased as the n-6/n-3 PUFA ratio of the diet decreased. Thus, this study shows that dietary alpha-linolenic acid results in lowered blood lipid levels and suppressed lymphocyte functions ex vivo and in vivo. With respect to these effects, alpha-linolenic acid is as potent as dietary fish oil.
N M Jeffery; P Sanderson; E J Sherrington; E A Newsholme; P C Calder
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Lipids     Volume:  31     ISSN:  0024-4201     ISO Abbreviation:  Lipids     Publication Date:  1996 Jul 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1996-12-17     Completed Date:  1996-12-17     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0060450     Medline TA:  Lipids     Country:  UNITED STATES    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  737-45     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford, United Kingdom.
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MeSH Terms
Animal Feed
Cell Death
Cholesterol / blood
Cohort Studies
Dietary Fats, Unsaturated / administration & dosage*,  metabolism
Fatty Acids / blood,  chemistry
Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / blood
Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / administration & dosage*,  analysis,  metabolism
Fatty Acids, Omega-6
Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / administration & dosage*,  analysis,  metabolism
Food, Formulated / analysis
Graft vs Host Reaction
Immunity, Cellular
Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
Lipids / blood*,  chemistry
Lymphocyte Activation
Lymphocytes / chemistry,  cytology,  immunology*
Organ Size
Rats, Inbred Lew
Triglycerides / blood
Weight Gain
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Dietary Fats, Unsaturated; 0/Fatty Acids; 0/Fatty Acids, Nonesterified; 0/Fatty Acids, Omega-3; 0/Fatty Acids, Omega-6; 0/Fatty Acids, Unsaturated; 0/Lipids; 0/Triglycerides; 57-88-5/Cholesterol

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