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Hypertens Res. 2012 Apr;35(4):381-7. doi: 10.1038/hr.2011.194. Epub 2011 Nov 10.

Hypothalamic gene expression in ω-3 PUFA-deficient male rats before, and following, development of hypertension.

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School of Medicine, Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria, Australia.


Dietary deficiency of ω-3 fatty acids (ω-3 DEF) produces hypertension in later life. This study examined the effect of ω-3 DEF on blood pressure and hypothalamic gene expression in young rats, before the development of hypertension, and in older rats following the onset of hypertension. Animals were fed experimental diets that were deficient in ω-3 fatty acids, sufficient in short-chain ω-3 fatty acids or sufficient in short- and long-chain ω-3 fatty acids, from the prenatal period until 10 or 36 weeks-of-age. There was no difference in blood pressure between groups at 10 weeks-of-age; however, at 36 weeks-of-age ω-3 DEF animals were hypertensive in relation to sufficient groups. At 10 weeks, expression of angiotensin-II(1A) receptors and dopamine D(3) receptors were significantly increased in the hypothalamic tissue of ω-3 DEF animals. In contrast, at 36 weeks, α(2a) and β(1) adrenergic receptor expression was significantly reduced in the ω-3 DEF group. Brain docosahexaenoic acid was significantly lower in ω-3 DEF group compared with sufficient groups. This study demonstrates that dietary ω-3 DEF causes changes both in the expression of key genes involved in central blood pressure regulation and in blood pressure. The data may indicate that hypertension resulting from ω-3 DEF is mediated by the central adrenergic system.

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