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Modulatory effect of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on osteoblast function and bone metabolism.

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  • 1Center for Enhancing Foods to Protect Health, Lipid Chemistry and Molecular Biology Laboratory, Department of Food Science, Purdue University, 745 Agriculture Mall Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA.


Recent investigations indicate that the type and amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) influence bone formation in animal models and osteoblastic cell functions in culture. In growing rats, supplementing the diet with omega-3 PUFA results in greater bone formation rates and moderates ex vivo prostaglandin E(2) production in bone organ cultures. A protective effect of omega-3 PUFA on minimizing bone mineral loss in ovariectomized rats has also been reported. The actions of omega-3 fatty acids on bone formation appear to be linked to altering osteoblast functions. Herein we describe experiments with MC3T3-E1 osteoblast-like cells that support findings in vivo where omega-3 PUFA modulated COX-2 protein expression, reduced prostaglandin E(2) production, and increased alkaline phosphatase activity. Other studies indicate that the dietary source of PUFA may affect protein expression of Cbfa1 and nodule formation in fetal rat calvarial cells.

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