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Modulation of aquaporin gene expression by n-3 long-chain PUFA lipid structures in white and brown adipose tissue from hamsters

  • Paula A. Lopes (a1), Rute Martins (a2) (a3), Inês Vieira da Silva (a2) (a3), Marta S. Madeira (a1), José A. M. Prates (a1) and Graça Soveral (a2) (a3)...


EPA (20 : 5n-3) and DHA (22 : 6n-3) fatty acids have weight-reducing properties with physiological activity depending on their molecular structure – that is, as TAG or ethyl esters (EE). Aquaporins (AQP) are membrane protein channels recognised as important players in fat metabolism, but their differential expression in white adipose tissue (WAT) and brown adipose tissue (BAT), as well as their modulation by dietary n-3 long-chain PUFA (LCPUFA) such as EPA and DHA, has never been investigated. In this study, the transcriptional profiles of AQP3, AQP5, AQP7 and selected lipid markers of WAT (subcutaneous and visceral) and BAT (interscapular) from hamsters fed diets containing n-3 LCPUFA in different lipid structures such as fish oil (FO, rich in EPA and DHA in the TAG form) and FO-EE (rich in EPA and DHA in the EE form) were used and compared with linseed oil (LSO) as the reference group. A clear effect of fat depot was observed for AQP3 and leptin (LEP), with the lowest values of mRNA found in BAT relative to WAT. The opposite occurred for PPARα. AQP7 was affected by diet, with FO-fed hamsters having higher mRNA levels compared with LSO-fed hamsters. The relative gene expression of AQP5, adiponectin (ADIPO), GLUT4 and PPARγ was influenced by both fat tissue and diet. Taken together, our results revealed a differential expression profile of AQP and some markers of lipid metabolism in both WAT and BAT in response to feeding n-3 LCPUFA in two different structural formats: TAG v. EE.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding authors: P. A. Lopes, fax +351 213652829, email; G. Soveral, fax +351 217946470, email


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These authors contributed equally to this work.



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