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Am J Pathol. 2010 Nov;177(5):2176-84. doi: 10.2353/ajpath.2010.100174. Epub 2010 Sep 9.

An omega-3 fatty acid-enriched diet prevents skeletal muscle lesions in a hamster model of dystrophy.

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Laboratorio di Cardiologia Molecolare e Cellulare, Dipartimento di Medicina Interna, Università di Roma Tor Vergata, Via Montpellier, 1, 00133 Roma, Italy.


Currently, despite well-known mutational causes, a universal treatment for neuromuscular disorders is still lacking, and current therapeutic efforts are mainly restricted to symptomatic treatments. In the present study, δ-sarcoglycan-null dystrophic hamsters were fed a diet enriched in flaxseed-derived ω3 α-linolenic fatty acid from weaning until death. α-linolenic fatty acid precluded the dystrophic degeneration of muscle morphology and function. In fact, in dystrophic animals fed flaxseed-derived α-linolenic fatty acid, the histological appearance of the muscular tissue was improved, the proliferation of interstitial cells was decreased, and the myogenic differentiation originated new myocytes to repair the injured muscle. In addition, muscle myofibers were larger and cell membrane integrity was preserved, as witnessed by the correct localization of α-, β-, and γ-sarcoglycans and α-dystroglycan. Furthermore, the cytoplasmic accumulation of both β-catenin and caveolin-3 was abolished in dystrophic hamster muscle fed α-linolenic fatty acid versus control animals fed standard diet, while α-myosin heavy chain was expressed at nearly physiological levels. These findings, obtained by dietary intervention only, introduce a novel concept that provides evidence that the modulation of the plasmalemma lipid profile could represent an efficacious strategy to ameliorate human muscular dystrophy.

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