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PUFA modulate immune function and have been associated with the risk of childhood atopy and asthma. We investigated the effect of maternal fat intake in mice on PUFA status, elongase and desaturase gene expression, inflammatory markers and lung function in the offspring. C57BL/6J mice (n 32) were fed either standard chow (C, 20·4 % energy as fat) or a high-fat diet (HFD, 39·9 % energy as fat) for 4 weeks prior to conception and during gestation and lactation. At 21 d of age, offspring were weaned onto either the HFD or C, generating four experimental groups: C/C, C/HF, HF/C and HF/HF. Plasma and liver fatty acid composition were measured by GC and gene expression by quantitative PCR. Lung resistance to methacholine was assessed. Arachidonic acid concentrations in offspring plasma and liver phospholipids were increased by HFD; this effect was greater in the post-natal HFD group. DHA concentration in offspring liver phospholipids was increased in response to HFD and was higher in the post-natal HFD group. Post-natal HFD increased hepatic fatty acid desaturase (FADS) 2 and elongation of very long-chain fatty acid 5 expression in male offspring, whereas maternal HFD elevated expression of FADS1 and FADS2 in female offspring compared with males. Post-natal HFD increased expression of IL-6 and C-C motif chemokine ligand 2 (CCL2) in perivascular adipose tissue. The HFD lowered lung resistance to methacholine. Excessive maternal fat intake during development modifies hepatic PUFA status in offspring through regulation of gene expression of enzymes that are involved in PUFA biosynthesis and modifies the development of the offspring lungs leading to respiratory dysfunction.
A glyceride mixture of monoglyceride, diglyceride and TAG increases solubilisation and enhances emulsification of n-3 fatty acid (FA)-containing lipids in the stomach. This allows for better access of digestive enzymes, pivotal for the release of bioactive n-3 FA. The objective was to compare the effect of a glyceride formulation and an ethyl ester formulation of EPA + DHA on concentrations of EPA and DHA in plasma following single dosing. We conducted a double-blind crossover trial in which twenty healthy adults aged 50–70 years consumed a single dose (2·8 g EPA + DHA) of each EPA + DHA formulation without a meal in random order separated by a 2-week washout period. EPA and DHA were measured in plasma total lipid over the following 12 h. EPA and DHA in plasma total lipid increased over 12 h with both formulations. A 10-fold greater Δ concentration of EPA, 3-fold greater Δ concentration of DHA and 5-fold greater Δ concentration of EPA + DHA were seen with the glyceride-EPA + DHA. The time at which the maximal concentrations of n-3 FA occurred was 4 h earlier for EPA, 1 h earlier for DHA and 2 h earlier for EPA + DHA when consuming glyceride-EPA + DHA. A mixture of monoglyceride, diglyceride and TAG results in greater and faster incorporation of EPA and DHA into blood plasma lipid in the absence of a fatty meal. This may provide benefit to individuals on a low-fat diet or with digestive impairments and could result in greater efficacy in clinical trials using n-3 FA.
Arachidonic acid (ARA) and DHA, supplied primarily from the mother, are required for early development of the central nervous system. Thus, variations in maternal ARA or DHA status may modify neurocognitive development. We investigated the relationship between maternal ARA and DHA status in early (11·7 weeks) or late (34·5 weeks) pregnancy on neurocognitive function at the age of 4 years or 6–7 years in 724 mother–child pairs from the Southampton Women’s Survey cohort. Plasma phosphatidylcholine fatty acid composition was measured in early and late pregnancy. ARA concentration in early pregnancy predicted 13 % of the variation in ARA concentration in late pregnancy (β=0·36, P<0·001). DHA concentration in early pregnancy predicted 21 % of the variation in DHA concentration in late pregnancy (β=0·46, P<0·001). Children’s cognitive function at the age of 4 years was assessed by the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence and at the age of 6–7 years by the Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence. Executive function at the age of 6–7 years was assessed using elements of the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery. Neither DHA nor ARA concentrations in early or late pregnancy were associated significantly with neurocognitive function in children at the age of 4 years or the age of 6–7 years. These findings suggest that ARA and DHA status during pregnancy in the range found in this cohort are unlikely to have major influences on neurocognitive function in healthy children.
n-3 Fatty acids are associated with better cardiovascular and cognitive health. However, the concentration of EPA, DPA and DHA in different plasma lipid pools differs and factors influencing this heterogeneity are poorly understood. Our aim was to evaluate the association of oily fish intake, sex, age, BMI and APOE genotype with concentrations of EPA, DPA and DHA in plasma phosphatidylcholine (PC), NEFA, cholesteryl esters (CE) and TAG. Healthy adults (148 male, 158 female, age 20–71 years) were recruited according to APOE genotype, sex and age. The fatty acid composition was determined by GC. Oily fish intake was positively associated with EPA in PC, CE and TAG, DPA in TAG, and DHA in all fractions (P≤0·008). There was a positive association between age and EPA in PC, CE and TAG, DPA in NEFA and CE, and DHA in PC and CE (P≤0·034). DPA was higher in TAG in males than females (P<0·001). There was a positive association between BMI and DPA and DHA in TAG (P<0·006 and 0·02, respectively). APOE genotype×sex interactions were observed: the APOE4 allele associated with higher EPA in males (P=0·002), and there was also evidence for higher DPA and DHA (P≤0·032). In conclusion, EPA, DPA and DHA in plasma lipids are associated with oily fish intake, sex, age, BMI and APOE genotype. Such insights may be used to better understand the link between plasma fatty acid profiles and dietary exposure and may influence intake recommendations across population subgroups.
Studies have suggested that maternal PUFA status during pregnancy may influence early childhood allergic diseases, although findings are inconsistent. We examined the relationship between maternal PUFA status and risk of allergic diseases in early childhood in an Asian cohort. Maternal plasma samples from the Growing Up in Singapore Towards Healthy Outcomes mother–offspring cohort were assayed at 26–28 weeks of gestation for relative abundance of PUFA. Offspring (n 960) were followed up from 3 weeks to 18 months of age, and clinical outcomes of potential allergic diseases (rhinitis, eczema and wheezing) were assessed by repeated questionnaires. Skin prick testing (SPT) was also performed at the age of 18 months. Any allergic disease with positive SPT was defined as having any one of the clinical outcomes plus a positive SPT. The prevalence of a positive SPT, rhinitis, eczema, wheezing and any allergic disease with positive SPT was 14·1 % (103/728), 26·5 % (214/808), 17·6 % (147/833), 10·9 % (94/859) and 9·4 % (62/657), respectively. After adjustment for confounders, maternal total n-3, n-6 PUFA status and the n-6:n-3 PUFA ratio were not significantly associated with offspring rhinitis, eczema, wheezing, a positive SPT and having any allergic disease with positive SPT in the offspring (P>0·01 for all). A weak trend of higher maternal n-3 PUFA being associated with higher risk of allergic diseases with positive SPT in offspring was observed. These findings do not support the hypothesis that the risk of early childhood allergic diseases is modified by variation in maternal n-3 and n-6 PUFA status during pregnancy in an Asian population.
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