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Cardiovasc Psychiatry Neurol. 2009;2009:867041. doi: 10.1155/2009/867041. Epub 2009 Sep 16.

The Decrease of n-3 Fatty Acid Energy Percentage in an Equicaloric Diet Fed to B6C3Fe Mice for Three Generations Elicits Obesity.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine University of Illinois at Chicago, 1601 W. Taylor Street, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.


Feeding mice, over 3 generations, an equicaloric diet in which alpha-linolenic acid, the dietary precursor of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, was substituted by linoleic acid, the dietary precursor of n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, significantly increased body weight throughout life when compared with standard diet-fed mice. Adipogenesis observed in the low n-3 fatty acid mice was accompanied by a 6-fold upregulation of stearyl-coenzyme A desaturase 1 (Scd1), whose activity is correlated to plasma triglyceride levels. In total liver lipid and phospholipid extracts, the sum of n-3 fatty acids and the individual longer carbon chain acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5n3), docosapentaenoic acid (22:5n3), and docosahexaenoic acid (22:6n3) were significantly decreased whereas arachidonic acid (20:4n6) was significantly increased. In addition, low n-3 fatty acid-fed mice had liver steatosis, heart, and kidney hypertrophy. Hence, reducing dietary alpha-linolenic acid, from 1.02 energy % to 0.16 energy % combined with raising linoleic acid intake resulted in obesity and had detrimental consequences on organ function.

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