Date of Award

12-1-2013

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Food and Nutrition

First Advisor

Davis, Jeremy

Abstract

Background, Consumption of marine-based oils high in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n3PUFAs), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is known to protect against obesity-related pathologies. It is less clear whether traditional vegetable oils with high omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid (n6PUFA) content exhibit similar therapeutic benefits. As such, this study examined the metabolic effects of a plant-based n3PUFA, stearidonic acid (SDA), in polygenic obese rodents. Methods, Lean (LZR) and obese Zucker (OZR) rats were provided either a standard westernized control diet (CON) with a high n6PUFA to n3PUFA ratio (i.e., 16.2/1.0) or experimental diet modified with flaxseed (FLAX), menhaden (FISH), or SDA oil that resulted in n6PUFA to n3PUFA ratios of 1.7/1.0, 1.3/1.0, and 1.0/0.8, respectively. Results, After 12 weeks, total adiposity, dyslipidemia, glucose intolerance, and hepatic steatosis were all greater, whereas n3PUFA content in liver, adipose, and muscle was lower in OZR vs. LZR rats. Obese rodents fed modified FISH or SDA diets had lower serum lipids and hepatic fat content vs. CON. The omega-3 index (i.e., ÓEPA + DHA in erythrocyte membrane) was 4.0, 2.4, and 2.0-fold greater in rodents provided FISH, SDA, and FLAX vs. CON diet, irrespective of genotype. Total hepatic n3PUFA and DHA was highest in rats fed FISH, whereas both hepatic and extra-hepatic EPA was higher with FISH and SDA groups. Conclusions, these data indicate that SDA oil represents a viable plant-derived source of n3PUFA, which has therapeutic implications for several obesity-related pathologies.

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