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Long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid from fish oil modulates aortic nitric oxide and tocopherol status in the rat

  • Diego López (a1), Matías Möller (a2), Ana Denicola (a2), Kelly Casós (a1), Homero Rubbo (a3), José Ignacio Ruiz-Sanz (a4) and Maria Teresa Mitjavila (a1)...


In spite of their high oxidisability, long-chain n-3 PUFA protect against CVD. Dietary fatty acids modulate the fatty acid composition of lipoproteins involved in atherosclerosis. We thought that if long-chain n-3 PUFA were able to increase NO production by the aorta, then by its antioxidant activity the NO will prevent lipid peroxidation. However, the beneficial effect of NO in vivo on VLDL+LDL oxidation would only be possible if NO could diffuse to their lipidic core. Rats were fed maize oil- or fish oil as menhaden oil- (MO) rich diets for 8 weeks, to study the effects of MO on aortic NO production, NO diffusion into VLDL+LDL, the extent of oxidation in native VLDL+LDL and their oxidisability ex vivo. Aortic NO production and its α-tocopherol content were increased and n-3 PUFA were incorporated into the VLDL+LDL. In spite of the higher peroxidisability and the low α-tocopherol in native VLDL+LDL from rats fed MO, native VLDL+LDL from the two groups shared similar electrophoretic patterns, conjugated dienes, thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances, total antioxidant capacity, and NO diffusibility on VLDL+LDL, indicative of an in vivo protection against oxidation. However, these results do not correlate with the ex vivo oxidisability of VLDL+LDL, as NO is lacking. Thus, the in vivo beneficial effects can be explained by increased α-tocopherol in aorta and by a compensatory effect of NO on VLDL+LDL against the low α-tocopherol levels, which may contribute to the anti-atherogenic properties of fish oil.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Dr M. T. Mitjavila, fax +34 93 4110358, email


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