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Genes Nutr. 2013 May;8(3):329-42. doi: 10.1007/s12263-012-0326-2. Epub 2012 Dec 7.

Beneficial effects of flaxseed oil and fish oil diet are through modulation of different hepatic genes involved in lipid metabolism in streptozotocin-nicotinamide induced diabetic rats.

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Interactive Research School for Health Affairs, Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed University, Pune, 411043, Maharashtra, India.


Dietary omega-3 fatty acids have been demonstrated to have positive physiological effects on lipid metabolism, cardiovascular system and insulin resistance. Type-2 diabetes (T2DM) is known for perturbations in fatty acid metabolism leading to dyslipidemia. Our objective was to investigate beneficial effects of dietary flaxseed oil and fish oil in streptozotocin-nicotinamide induced diabetic rats. Thirty-six adult, male, Wistar rats were divided into six groups: three diabetic and three non-diabetic. Diabetes was induced by an injection of nicotinamide (110 mg/kg) and STZ (65 mg/kg). The animals received either control, flaxseed oil or fish oil (10 % w/w) enriched diets for 35 days. Both diets lowered serum triglycerides and very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels and elevated serum high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in diabetic rats, while serum total cholesterol and LDL-C levels remained unaffected. Both the diets increased omega-3 levels in plasma and RBCs of diabetic rats. Flaxseed oil diet significantly up-regulated the key transcription factor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-α (PPAR-α ) and down-regulated sterol regulatory element-binding protein-1 (SREBP-1) in diabetic rats, which would have increased β-oxidation of fatty acids and concomitantly reduced lipogenesis respectively, thereby reducing TG levels. Fish oil diet, on the contrary lowered serum TG levels without altering PPAR-α while it showed a non-significant reduction in SREBP-1 expression in diabetic rats. Another key finding of the study is the activation of D5 and D6 desaturases in diabetic rats by flaxseed oil diet or fish oil diets, which may have resulted in an improved omega-3 status and comparable effects shown by both diets. The reduced expression of Liver-fatty acid binding protein in diabetic rats was restored by fish oil alone, while both diets showed equal effects on adipocyte fatty acid-binding protein expression. We also observed down-regulation of atherogenic cytokines tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-6 by both the diets. In conclusion, dietary flaxseed oil and fish oil have therapeutic potential in preventing lipid abnormalities in T2DM.

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