, Volume 35, Issue 9, pp 1011-1015

Dietary docosahexaenoic acid affects stearic acid desaturation in spontaneously hypertensive rats

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Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22∶6n−3) is an n−3 polyunsaturated fatty acid which attenuates the development of hypertension in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR). The effects of DHA on delta-9-desaturase activity in hepatic microsomes and fatty acid composition were examined in young SHR. Two groups of SHR were fed either a DHA-enriched diet or a control diet for 6 wk. Desaturase activity and fatty acid composition were determined in hepatic microsomes following the dietary treatments. Delta-9-desaturase activity was decreased by 53% in DHA-fed SHR and was accompanied by an increase in 16∶0 and a reduction in 16∶1n−7 content in hepatic microsomes. The DHA diet also increased the levels of eicosapentaenoic acid (20∶5n−3) and DHA. The n−6 fatty acid content was also affected in DHA-fed SHR as reflected by a decrease in gamma-linolenic acid (18∶3n−6), arachidonic acid (20∶5n−6), adrenic acid (22∶4n−6), and docosapentaenoic acid (22∶5n−6). A higher proportion of dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (20∶3n−6) and a lower proportion of 20∶4n−6 is indicative of impaired delta-5-desaturase activity. The alterations in fatty acid composition and metabolism may contribute to the antihypertensive effect of DHA previously reported.