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Metab Syndr Relat Disord. 2007 Dec;5(4):315-22. doi: 10.1089/met.2007.0007.

Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) But Not Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) Prevents Trans-10, Cis-12 Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)-Induced Insulin Resistance in Mice.

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  • 1Western Human Nutrition Research Center, ARS, USDA, and Department of Nutrition, University of California, Davis, California.



The objective of this study was to investigate if eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5n-3, EPA) or docosahexaenoic acid (22:6n-3, DHA) or both would prevent conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)-induced insulin resistance and fatty liver.


Eight-week-old, pathogen-free C57BL/6N female mice (10 per group) were fed either a control diet or diets containing t10, c12-CLA (0.5 wt %), CLA + DHA (0.5% + 1.5 wt %), or CLA + EPA (0.5% + 1.5 wt %) for 8 weeks prior to sacrifice and tissue collection.


CLA supplementation caused an 8.9-fold increase in circulating insulin, a 2.6-fold increase in liver weight, and a 6.2-fold increase in the weight of total lipids in the liver as compared with the corresponding values in the control group. DHA prevented the CLA-induced insulin resistance, while EPA was ineffective. Both EPA and DHA prevented CLA-induced fatty liver and reduced weights of total liver lipids to the levels of the control group. CLA also reduced the plasma leptin and adiponectin concentrations to approximately 15% of those in the control group. Both EPA and DHA partially restored the CLA-induced decrease in leptin, but only DHA partially restored the plasma adiponectin.


Our results suggest that DHA but not EPA in fish oils may reduce insulin resistance which may be mediated through an increase in circulating adiponectin. These findings may have clinical implications in the dietary management of patients at risk of insulin resistance and diabetes.


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