, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 33-44

Dietary fat, fatty acid saturation and mitochondrial bioenergetics

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Abstract

Fat intake alters mitochondrial lipid composition which can affect function. We used novel methodology to assess bioenergetics, including simultaneous ATP and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, in liver and heart mitochondria of C57BL/6 mice fed diets of variant fatty acid content and saturation. Our methodology allowed us to clamp ADP concentration and membrane potential (ΔΨ) at fixed levels. Mice received a control diet for 17–19 weeks, a high-fat (HF) diet (60 % lard) for 17–19 weeks, or HF for 12 weeks followed by 6–7 weeks of HF with 50 % of fat as menhaden oil (MO) which is rich in n-3 fatty acids. ATP production was determined as conversion of 2-deoxyglucose to 2-deoxyglucose phosphate by NMR spectroscopy. Respiration and ATP production were significantly reduced at all levels of ADP and resultant clamped ΔΨ in liver mitochondria from mice fed HF compared to controls. At given ΔΨ, ROS production per mg mitochondrial protein, per unit respiration, or per ATP generated were greater for liver mitochondria of HF-fed mice compared to control or MO-fed mice. Moreover, these ROS metrics began to increase at a lower ΔΨ threshold. Similar, but less marked, changes were observed in heart mitochondria of HF-fed mice compared to controls. No changes in mitochondrial bioenergetics were observed in studies of separate mice fed HF versus control for only 12 weeks. In summary, HF feeding of sufficient duration impairs mitochondrial bioenergetics and is associated with a greater ROS “cost” of ATP production compared to controls. These effects are, in part, mitigated by MO.