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Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2007 Nov-Dec;77(5-6):263-7. Epub 2007 Nov 26.

Fat-1 transgenic mice: a new model for omega-3 research.

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Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA.


An appropriate animal model that can eliminate confounding factors of diet would be very helpful for evaluation of the health effects of nutrients such as n-3 fatty acids. We recently generated a fat-1 transgenic mouse expressing the Caenorhabditis elegans fat-1 gene encoding an n-3 fatty acid desaturase that converts n-6 to n-3 fatty acids (which is absent in mammals). The fat-1 transgenic mice are capable of producing n-3 fatty acids from the n-6 type, leading to abundant n-3 fatty acids with reduced levels of n-6 fatty acids in their organs and tissues, without the need of a dietary n-3 supply. Feeding an identical diet (high in n-6) to the transgenic and wild-type littermates can produce different fatty acid profiles in these animals. Thus, this model allows well-controlled studies to be performed, without the interference of the potential confounding factors of diet. The transgenic mice are now being used widely and are emerging as a new tool for studying the benefits of n-3 fatty acids and the molecular mechanisms of their action.

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