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Keywords:

  • inflammation;
  • metabolic syndrome;
  • postprandial lipaemia;
  • n-3 PUFA

Background: Postprandial dyslipidaemia occurs in obesity and insulin resistance (IR), and is associated with an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease. We have recently established that the JCR:LA-cp rodent model develops postprandial dyslipidaemia concomitant with complications of the metabolic syndrome. Dietary n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) are proposed to modulate plasma lipids, serum hormone levels, lipoprotein metabolism and the inflammatory state; however, results remain inconsistent during conditions of IR.

Aim: To assess the acute metabolic and inflammatory effects of dietary fish oil supplementation on existing postprandial dyslipidaemia in the JCR:LA-cp model.

Methods: JCR:LA-cp rats (14 weeks of age) were fed either a control, isocaloric, lipid balanced diet (15% w/w total fat, 1.0% cholesterol, P:S ratio 0.4), a lipid balanced diet with 5% n-3 PUFA [fish oil derived eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)/docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)] or a lipid balanced diet with 10% n-3 PUFA for 3 weeks. Fasting plasma lipid, cytokine levels, postprandial chylomicron (apoB48) metabolism and the postprandial inflammatory response [haptoglobin and lipopolysaccharide binding protein (LBP)] were assessed following a standardized ‘oral fat challenge’.

Results: n-3 PUFA treatment resulted in a significant improvement (i.e. decrease) in the postprandial response for triglyceride (45%) (p < 0.05), apoB48 (45%) (p < 0.03) and LBP (33%) (p < 0.05) compared to controls (measured as area under the clearance curve). In contrast, we observed a significant elevation in postprandial haptoglobin (165%) (p < 0.001) in obese rats supplemented with 10% n-3 PUFA. Treatment with 5% n-3 PUFA in the JCR:LA-cp obese animals resulted in a complementary decrease in total body weight gain (6%) (p < 0.001) and an increase (i.e. improvement) in adiponectin (33%) (p < 0.05) compared to controls, without a concomitant reduction in food intake.

Conclusion: Acute dietary n-3 PUFA dietary supplementation can improve fasting as well as postprandial lipid metabolism and components of the associated inflammatory response in the JCR:LA-cp rat. Further, moderate dose n-3 PUFA supplementation may reduce corresponding body weight during conditions of hypercholesterolaemia and/or modulate inflammation associated with obesity and the metabolic syndrome.