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Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2011 Mar-Apr;84(3-4):71-8. doi: 10.1016/j.plefa.2010.12.003. Epub 2011 Jan 5.

Plasma omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acid status and monounsaturated fatty acids are altered by chronic social stress and predict endocrine responses to acute stress in titi monkeys.

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Western Human Nutrition Research Center/ARS/USDA, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


Disturbances in fatty acid (FA) metabolism may link chronic psychological stress, endocrine responsiveness, and psychopathology. Therefore, lipid metabolome-wide responses and their relationships with endocrine (cortisol, insulin, and adiponectin) responsiveness to acute stress (AS) were assessed in a primate model of chronic social stress (CS). Compared to controls (not exposed to CS), CS increased (P≤0.05) circulating triacylglycerol (TG) and phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) n-6/n-3 and reduced (P≤0.05) cholesterol ester (CE) 16:1n7 and phosphatidylcholine (PC) 18:1n7, suggesting lower omega-3 FA status and stearoyl-CoA desaturase activity, respectively. Cortisol responses to AS positively correlated with TG n-6/n-3 (r=0.93; P=0.007), but only in CS monkeys. The adiponectin response to AS inversely correlated with CE n-6/n3 (r=-0.89; P=0.045) and positively with TG 16:1n7 (r=0.98; P=0.004), only in CS monkeys. Our results are consistent with previously reported FA profiles in stress-related psychopathology and suggest that compositional changes of specific lipid FAs may form new functional markers of chronic psychological stress.

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