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Enhanced survival to endotoxin in guinea pigs fed IV fish oil emulsion

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Improved survival to endotoxin has been demonstrated in rats pretreated with cyclooxygenase inhibitors or made essential fatty acid deficient, implying that excessive ω6 fatty acids, possibly through their eicosanoid products, contribute to mortality. Following endotoxin administration, we also have shown improvement in survival with oral diets supplemented with fish oil. This study sought to explore whether parenteral fish oil ameliorates the adverse impact of endotoxin.

Male Hartley-strain guinea pigs were obtained at a body weight of 500 g and fed a normal laboratory diet. Central venous lines through which the animals received either a 10% safflower oil emulsion (n=11) or a 10% fish oil emulsion (n=11) during two, 24-hr periods separated by two days were inserted. Two days after the second infusion, endotoxin (0.35 mg/100 g b.w.), was given intraperitoneally, and survival was noted. The animals received a total of 25.4 g of IV fat per kg b.w., including 5.3 g of eicosapentaenoic acid per kg b.w., for the fish oil group.

From six hr after endotoxin through four days, there was better survival in the fish oil group (p<.006). Final mortality showed 7/11 fish-fed vs 2/11 safflower-fed animals surviving. We conclude that the administration of parenteral fish oil, even for a brief time, can have a profound effect on subsequent survival to endotoxin.

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Mascioli, E., Leader, L., Flores, E. et al. Enhanced survival to endotoxin in guinea pigs fed IV fish oil emulsion. Lipids 23, 623–625 (1988).

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