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EPA, DHA, and Lipoic Acid Differentially Modulate the n-3 Fatty Acid Biosynthetic Pathway in Atlantic Salmon Hepatocytes

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Kjetil Aune


Lipids 2017; Volume 52. p. 265–283. 2017

Bou, Marta; Østbye, Tone-Kari K; Berge, Gerd Marit; Ruyter, Bente

The aim of the present study was to investigate how EPA, DHA, and lipoic acid (LA) influence the different metabolic steps in the n-3 fatty acid (FA) biosynthetic pathway in hepatocytes from Atlantic salmon fed four dietary levels (0, 0.5, 1.0 and 2.0%) of EPA, DHA or a 1:1 mixture of these FA. The hepatocytes were incubated with [1-14C] 18:3n-3 in the presence or absence of LA (0.2 mM). Increased endogenous levels of EPA and/or DHA and LA exposure both led to similar responses in cells with reduced desaturation and elongation of [1-14C] 18:3n-3 to 18:4n-3, 20:4n-3, and EPA, in agreement with reduced expression of the Δ6 desaturase gene involved in the first step of conversion. DHA production, on the other hand, was maintained even in groups with high endogenous levels of DHA, possibly due to a more complex regulation of this last step in the n-3 metabolic pathway. Inhibition of the Δ6 desaturase pathway led to increased direct elongation to 20:3n-3 by both DHA and LA. Possibly the route by 20:3n-3 and then Δ8 desaturation to 20:4n-3, bypassing the first Δ6 desaturase step, can partly explain the maintained or even increased levels of DHA production. LA increased DHA production in the phospholipid fraction of hepatocytes isolated from fish fed 0 and 0.5% EPA and/or DHA, indicating that LA has the potential to further increase the production of this health-beneficial FA in fish fed diets with low levels of EPA and/or DHA.

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