Conjugated linoleic acid and oxidative stress
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At the present time, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is the subject of a growing number of studies since it has been demonstrated to possess anticarcinogenic and antiatherogenic activities in experimental animal models and to increase in some pathological states in humans. In both situations, CLA has been claimed to be involved in oxidative stress, as an antioxidant in the first case and as a primary product of a free-radical attack on polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in the other. The controversial results are due mostly to a lack of a suitable methodology because the presence of conjugated dienes (CD) in lipid moiety has been taken for years as evidence of lipid peroxidation due to the occurrence of this structure in fatty acid hydroperoxides. We have recently developed a new methodology that consists of the extraction of fatty acids, including CD fatty acid hydroperoxides, by mild saponification and their separation and identification by high-performance liquid chromatography with diode array detector. Fatty acid analyses of liver homogenate, oxidized in vitro either with Fe-ADP or t-butyl hydroperoxide (t-ButylHP), of lamb and rats fed CLA at levels known to prevent carcinogenesis, showed that CLA and its metabolites steadily decreased during oxidative stress and that they are more prone to oxidation than their corresponding methylene-interrupted fatty acids. No significant antioxidant effect of CLA was detected in any model tested. However, CD fatty acid hydroperoxides increased in the t-ButylHP model but not in the Fe-ADP model, owing probably to the degradation of CD fatty acid hydroperoxides induced by this oxidative agent. In conclusion, CLA and its metabolites seem to behave, under oxidative stress, as regular PUFA. Thus, it is highly unlikely that the peculiar effects of CLA are directly related to interference in lipoperoxidative processes.
Key wordsConjugated dienes conjugated linoleic acid diode array detector HPLC hydroperoxides oxidative stress second derivative UV spectrophotometry
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