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Concept: Polyunsaturated fat


Benefits of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) against cardiovascular diseases have been reported. Vascular tone regulation is largely mediated by endothelial factors whose release is modulated by sex hormones. Since the incidence of cardiovascular pathologies has been correlated with decreased levels of sex hormones, the aim of this study was to analyze whether a diet supplemented with the specific PUFA docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) could prevent vascular changes induced by an impaired gonadal function. For this purpose, control and orchidectomized rats were fed with a standard diet supplemented with 5% (w/w) sunflower oil or with 3% (w/w) sunflower oil plus 2% (w/w) DHA. The lipid profile, the blood pressure, the production of prostanoids and nitric oxide (NO), and the redox status of biological samples from control and orchidectomized rats, fed control or DHA-supplemented diet, were analyzed. The vasodilator response and the contribution of NO, prostanoids and hyperpolarizing mechanisms were also studied. The results showed that orchidectomy negatively affected the lipid profile, increased the production of prostanoids and reactive oxygen species (ROS), and decreased NO production and the antioxidant capacity, as well as the participation of hyperpolarizing mechanisms in the vasodilator responses. The DHA-supplemented diet of the orchidectomized rats decreased the release of prostanoids and ROS, while increasing NO production and the antioxidant capacity, and it also improved the lipid profile. Additionally, it restored the participation of hyperpolarizing mechanisms by activating potassium. Since the modifications induced by the DHA-supplemented diet were observed in the orchidectomized, but not in the healthy group, DHA seems to exert cardioprotective effects in physiopathological situations in which vascular dysfunction exists.

Concepts: Oxygen, Nutrition, Antioxidant, Reactive oxygen species, Fat, Nitric oxide, Trans fat, Polyunsaturated fat


-While omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids(n-6 PUFA) have been recommended to reduce CHD, controversy remains about benefits vs. harms, including concerns over theorized pro-inflammatory effects of n-6 PUFA. We investigated associations of circulating n-6 PUFA including linoleic acid(LA, the major dietary PUFA), γ-linolenic acid(GLA), dihomo-γ-linolenic acid(DGLA), and arachidonic acid(AA),with total and cause-specific mortality in the Cardiovascular Health Study, a community-based US cohort.

Concepts: Nutrition, Fatty acid, Fatty acids, Essential fatty acid, Omega-6 fatty acid, Linoleic acid, Arachidonic acid, Polyunsaturated fat


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a severe progressive disease that cannot be prevented or cured. Diet-derived long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are incorporated in brain lipids and modulate oxidative and inflammatory processes and could thus affect ALS risk and progression.

Concepts: Nutrition, Fatty acids, Essential fatty acid, Fat, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Polyunsaturated fat


This narrative review summarises the main studies of the role of the different fatty acids in coronary heart disease (CHD) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk and the current scientific debate on dietary recommendations. Reduction and substitution of the saturated fatty acids (SFAs) with the polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are still the main dietary recommendation to prevent CHD and CVD. In the last few years, however, the strength of the scientific evidence underlying this dietary advice has been questioned. Recent investigations reappraise the previously declared deleterious role of the SFAs and reduce the positive role of PUFAs, mainly the omega-6, whereas the role of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) remains unclear. In contrast, the negative effects of trans fatty acids (TFAs) seem stronger than previously thought. Finally, criticisms have emerged from a dietary recommendation approach focussed on individual components rather than on wide food items and eating habits.

Concepts: Nutrition, Fatty acid, Fatty acids, Saturated fat, Lipids, Trans fat, Unsaturated fat, Polyunsaturated fat


Fish oil (FO) alters ruminal biohydrogenation causing trans fatty acid (FA) intermediates to accumulate, but the effects of 18-carbon polyunsaturated FA supply on ruminal long-chain FA metabolism and microbial communities in cattle fed FO are not well established. Four cows fitted with rumen cannula were used in a 4 × 4 Latin square with 21-d experimental periods to evaluate the effects of FO alone or in combination with plant oils high in 18:2n-6 or 18:3n-3 on rumen microbial ecology and flow of FA at the omasum. Treatments comprised a basal grass silage-based diet containing no additional oil (control) or supplements of FO (200 g/d) or FO (200 g/d) plus 500 g/d of sunflower oil (SFO) or linseed oil (LFO). Flow of FA was determined using the omasal sampling technique. The relative abundance of key biohydrogenating bacteria was assessed by quantitative PCR on 16S rRNA genes in omasal digesta. Fish oil-supplemented treatments increased the amounts of trans-18:1, trans-18:2, and 20- to 22-carbon polyunsaturated FA escaping the rumen. Relative to the control, oil supplements had no effect on the amount of 18:0 leaving the rumen, but LFO decreased the flow of 18:0 at the omasum compared with SFO. Both SFO and LFO increased trans-18:1 relative to FO, whereas LFO resulted in the highest trans-18:2 and 20- to 22-carbon FA flow. Supplements of FO plus plant oils shifted biohydrogenation toward trans-10 18:1 formation. Compared with FO alone, the ruminal metabolism of 22:6n-3 in the rumen of lactating cows is more extensive on diets containing higher amounts of 18-carbon polyunsaturated FA. However, the biohydrogenation of 22:5n-3 was less extensive in LFO than SFO, but showed no difference between FO and diets containing plant oils. Ruminal outflow of 20:5n-3 was not altered when plant oils were added to FO. Alterations in the amount of intermediates at the omasum or ruminal biohydrogenation pathways were not accompanied by major changes in analyzed bacterial populations. In conclusion, dietary supplements of FO alone or in combination with plant oils increase the amount of biohydrogenation intermediates containing 1 or more trans double bonds escaping the rumen, which may have implications for host metabolism and the nutritional quality of ruminant foods.

Concepts: Nutrition, Fatty acid, Ribosomal RNA, Omega-3 fatty acid, Fat, Trans fat, Polyunsaturated fat, Sunflower oil


There is limited evidence assessing the effects of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) on oesophageal adenocarcinoma, both in vitro and in vivo. We evaluated the effects of the omega-3 PUFA and oxaliplatin on OE33 and OE19 cells.

Concepts: Nutrition, Fatty acid, Fatty acids, Essential fatty acid, Saturated fat, Unsaturated fat, Eicosapentaenoic acid, Polyunsaturated fat


The oxidative stability and fatty acid composition of groundnut seed oil (GSO) exposed to microwaves were evaluated during heating at 170 °C. During heating, the oxidative indices such as free fatty acid, peroxide value, p-anisidine value, TOTOX, thiobarbituric acid value, specific extinctions, and color value were increased. The increments were found to be higher in unroasted seed oils compared to roasted ones indicating lower release of lipid oxidation products in roasted GSO. After 9 h heating, the relative content of polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) decreased to 89.53% and that of saturated fatty acid (SFA) increased to 117.46% in unroasted sample. The relative content of PUFA decreased to 92.05% and that of SFA increased to 105.76% in 7.5 min roasted sample after 9 h of heating. However, the roasting process slowed down the oxidative deterioration of PUFA. With increased heating times, an appreciable loss was more apparent in the triacylglycerol species OLL and OOL in unroasted samples compared to roasted ones. In FTIR, the peak intensities in unroasted samples were markedly changed in comparison with roasted samples during heating. The roasting of groundnut seed prior to the oil extraction reduced the oxidative degradation of oil samples; thereby increasing heat stability.

Concepts: Nutrition, Fatty acid, Fatty acids, Essential fatty acid, Fat, Hydrogen peroxide, Saturated fat, Polyunsaturated fat


Schizophrenia is associated with shortening of the lifespan mainly due to cardiovascular events, cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Both telomere attrition and decrease of telomerase levels were observed in schizophrenia. Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) influence multiple biochemical mechanisms which are postulated to accelerate telomere shortening and limit the longevity of patients with schizophrenia. Intervention studies based on add-on therapy with n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA) in patients with schizophrenia did not assess the changes in telomerase levels. A randomized placebo-controlled trial named OFFER was designed to compare the efficacy of a 26-week intervention composed of either 2.2g/day of n-3 PUFA or olive oil placebo with regard to symptom severity in first-episode schizophrenia patients. The secondary outcome measure of the study was to describe the association between the clinical effect of n-3 PUFA and changes in telomerase levels. Seventy-one patients aged 16-35 were enrolled in the study and randomly assigned to the study arms. The Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) was used to assess the change in symptom severity. Telomerase levels of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were assessed at three points: at baseline and at weeks 8 and 26 of the intervention. A significantly greater increase in PBMC telomerase levels in the intervention group compared to placebo was observed (p<0.001). Changes in telomerase levels significantly and inversely correlated with improvement in depressive symptoms and severity of the illness. The efficacy of a six-month intervention with n-3 PUFA observed in first-episode schizophrenia may be related to an increase in telomerase levels.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Nutrition, Fatty acids, Essential fatty acid, PBMC, Polyunsaturated fatty acid, Polyunsaturated fat


Hibernating animals can adjust torpor expression according to available energy reserves. Besides the quantity, the quality of energy reserves could play an important role for overwintering strategies. Common hamsters are food-storing hibernators and show high individual variation in hibernation performance, which might be related to the quality of food hoards in the hibernacula. In this study, we tested the effects of food stores high in fat content, particularly polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), on hibernation patterns under laboratory conditions. Control animals received standard rodent pellets only, while in the other group pellets were supplemented with sunflower seeds. We recorded body temperature during winter using subcutaneously implanted data loggers, documented total food consumption during winter, and analysed PUFA proportions in white adipose tissue (WAT) before and after the winter period. About half of the individuals in both groups hibernated and torpor expression did not differ between these animals. Among the high-fat group, however, individuals with high sunflower seeds intake strongly reduced the time spent in deep torpor. PUFA proportions in WAT decreased during winter in both groups and this decline was positively related to the time an individual spent in deep torpor. Sunflower seeds intake dampened the PUFA decline resulting in higher PUFA levels in animals of the high-fat group after winter. In conclusion, our results showed that common hamsters adjusted torpor expression and food intake in relation to the total energy of food reserves, underlining the importance of food hoard quality on hibernation performance.

Concepts: Nutrition, Essential fatty acid, Fat, Dieting, Winter, Torpor, Hibernation, Polyunsaturated fat


Background: Leukocyte telomere length (TL) is associated with age-related diseases and early mortality, but there is a lack of data on the determinants of TL in early life. Evidence suggests that dietary intake of marine n-3 (ω-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) is protective of telomere attrition, yet the effect of methylmercury exposure, also found in fish, on TL is unknown.Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the associations between prenatal PUFA status, methylmercury exposure, and TL in mothers and children in the SCDS (Seychelles Child Development Study), for whom fish consumption is high.Methods: Blood samples collected from 229 mothers (at 28 wk gestation and delivery) and children (at 5 y of age) in the SCDS first nutrition cohort were analyzed for PUFA concentrations. Prenatal mercury was measured in maternal hair collected at delivery. Postnatal mercury was also measured in children’s hair samples with the use of a cumulative metric derived from values obtained at 3-5 y of age. Relative TL was measured in blood obtained from mothers at delivery, in cord blood, and in children at 5 y of age by quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Linear regression models were used to investigate the associations between PUFA status, methylmercury exposure, and TL.Results: Neither prenatal PUFA status or methylmercury exposure was associated with TL of the mother or child or with TL attrition rate. However, a higher prenatal n-6:n-3 PUFA ratio was significantly associated with longer TLs in the mothers (β = 0.001, P = 0.048). Child PUFA status and methylmercury exposure were not associated with child TL. However, higher family Hollingshead socioeconomic status (SES) scores at 9 mo of age were significantly associated with longer TLs in cord blood (β = 0.005, P = 0.03).Conclusions: We found no evidence that PUFA status or methylmercury exposure are determinants of TL in either the mother or child. However, our results support the hypothesis that family SES may be associated with child TL.

Concepts: DNA, Linear regression, Childbirth, Nutrition, Fatty acids, Essential fatty acid, Mother, Polyunsaturated fat