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J Nutr. 2002 Sep;132(9):2506-13.

Dietary fish oil increases acetylcholine- and eicosanoid-induced contractility of isolated rat ileum.

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CSIRO Health Sciences & Nutrition, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.


The long-chain (n-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) have been reported to exhibit health benefits and healing properties for the gastrointestinal tract. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of dietary fish oil supplementation on the in vitro contractility of gut tissue. Rats (9 wk old) were fed synthetic diets supplemented with 170 g/kg Sunola oil (SO; 850 g/kg as oleic acid [18:1(n-9)]) or with 100 g/kg of the SO replaced by saturated animal fat (SF) or fish oil (FO) for 4 wk. In the colon, there was no difference in the sensitivity (50% effective concentration) or the maximal contraction among the three dietary groups induced by acetylcholine or 8-iso-prostaglandin (PG)E(2) with the rat colon being relatively insensitive to the thromboxane mimetic U-46619. However, in the ileum, the FO group had greater maximal contractions induced by acetylcholine and 8-iso-PGE(2) compared with the SO and SF groups (P < 0.05), and greater maximal contractions induced by PGE(2), PGF(2alpha) and U-46619 compared with the SF group (P < 0.05). FO feeding increased the incorporation of (n-3) PUFA (eicosapentaenoic [20:5(n-3)], docosapentaenoic [22:5(n-3)] and docosahexaenoic acids [22:6(n-3) primarily at the expense of (n-6) PUFA (linoleic [18:2(n-6)] and arachidonic acids [20:4(n-6)]) in the ileum and colon phospholipid fatty acids (P < 0.05). The FO group had a lower cecal digesta pH (P < 0.001) and a greater butyrate concentration than the SF group (P < 0.05). These results suggest that dietary (n-3) PUFA may modulate the contractility of the small intestine.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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