Dietary SFAs and ω-6 Fatty Acids Alter Incorporation of ω-3 Fatty Acids into Milk Fat of Lactating CD-1 Mice and Tissues of Offspring

Rachel E. Walker, Valentina Parkhomenko, Yun Ying, Natalie Urrutia, Kevin J. Harvatine

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Background: Methods to increase the amount of omega-3 (n-3) PUFAs in milk are desirable for neonatal health. The n-3 PUFA, α-linolenic acid (18:3n-3), can be elongated to EPA (20:5n-3) and DHA (22:6n-3). n-6 PUFAs suppress tissue n-3 PUFA incorporation, but the effect of SFAs is not clear. Objectives: In this study, we compared the effects of SFAs and n-6 PUFAs on n-3 PUFA incorporation into milk and tissues of lactating mice and tissues of their offspring. Methods: Female CD-1 mice were bred at 8 wk of age. All experimental diets included 3% flaxseed oil and were begun on day 8 of lactation: low-fat diet (LFD); high-SFA diet (SAT), with an additional 12% saturated oil; or high-linoleic-acid diet (HLA), with 12% high-linoleic-acid oil (% kcal, carbohydrates:fat:protein: LFD, 49:24:27; both SAT and HLA, 35:46:19; n = 5/treatment). After 5 d, pup stomach milk clot FA profiles, tissue FA profiles in dams and pups, and mammary and hepatic expression of lipid metabolism genes in dams were analyzed. Data were analyzed by ANOVA with treatment diet as a fixed effect. Results: Dams in all groups had similar total milk fat concentrations, but both SAT and HLA decreased the concentration of n-3 PUFAs (SAT:-23%; HLA:-31%) compared with LFD, and HLA increased milk n-6 FAs by 347% compared with SAT. SAT pups had n-3 PUFA tissue concentrations similar to LFD, but HLA pups had lower n-3 PUFAs than SAT pups in multiple tissues (liver,-32%; kidney,-29%; heart,-28%; muscle,-18%). Mammary expression of lipid metabolism genes was mostly unchanged, but hepatic expression of elongases and desaturases was decreased with SAT compared with LFD [elongation of very-long-chain fatty acid (Elov)5,-42%; Elov6,-64%; fatty acid desaturase (Fads)1,-33%; Fads2,-44%]. Conclusions: HLA decreased n-3 PUFA concentrations across multiple pup tissues compared with SAT. This suggests that high dietary n-6 PUFAs suppress n-3 PUFA incorporation in neonates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1834-1843
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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