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PLoS One. 2010 Sep 13;5(9):e12696. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0012696.

Complex I-associated hydrogen peroxide production is decreased and electron transport chain enzyme activities are altered in n-3 enriched fat-1 mice.

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VM Molecular Biosciences, University of California Davis, Davis, California, United States of America.


The polyunsaturated nature of n-3 fatty acids makes them prone to oxidative damage. However, it is not clear if n-3 fatty acids are simply a passive site for oxidative attack or if they also modulate mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. The present study used fat-1 transgenic mice, that are capable of synthesizing n-3 fatty acids, to investigate the influence of increases in n-3 fatty acids and resultant decreases in the n-6:n-3 ratio on liver mitochondrial H(2)O(2) production and electron transport chain (ETC) activity. There was an increase in n-3 fatty acids and a decrease in the n-6:n-3 ratio in liver mitochondria from the fat-1 compared to control mice. This change was largely due to alterations in the fatty acid composition of phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylethanolamine, with only a small percentage of fatty acids in cardiolipin being altered in the fat-1 animals. The lipid changes in the fat-1 mice were associated with a decrease (p<0.05) in the activity of ETC complex I and increases (p<0.05) in the activities of complexes III and IV. Mitochondrial H(2)O(2) production with either succinate or succinate/glutamate/malate substrates was also decreased (p<0.05) in the fat-1 mice. This change in H(2)O(2) production was due to a decrease in ROS production from ETC complex I in the fat-1 animals. These results indicate that the fatty acid changes in fat-1 liver mitochondria may at least partially oppose oxidative stress by limiting ROS production from ETC complex I.

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