n–3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in the maternal diet modify the postnatal development of nervous regulation of intestinal permeability in piglets
Article first published online: 30 AUG 2011
© 2011 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2011 The Physiological Society
The Journal of Physiology
Volume 589, Issue 17, pages 4341–4352, September 2011
How to Cite
De Quelen, F., Chevalier, J., Rolli-Derkinderen, M., Mourot, J., Neunlist, M. and Boudry, G. (2011), n–3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in the maternal diet modify the postnatal development of nervous regulation of intestinal permeability in piglets. The Journal of Physiology, 589: 4341–4352. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2011.214056
- Issue published online: 30 AUG 2011
- Article first published online: 30 AUG 2011
- Accepted manuscript online: 11 JUL 2011 11:19AM EST
- (Received 14 June 2011; accepted after revision 6 July 2011; first published online 11 July 2011)
Non-technical summary In this study, we demonstrated that supplementation of the maternal diet with a particular fatty acid, 18:3 n-3, the precursor of the n-3 fatty acid family, modified intestinal permeability, probably via diet-induced neuroplastic changes of the enteric nervous system of newborn piglets. These findings suggest that feeding fatty acids of the n-3 family during pregnancy and lactation impact newborn intestinal barrier function. However, the beneficial versus harmful consequences of this increased intestinal permeability remain to be elucidated.
Abstract The intestinal epithelial barrier (IEB) plays a key role in the maintenance of gut homeostasis and the development of the immune system in newborns. The enteric nervous system (ENS), a key regulator of gastrointestinal functions, has been shown to be modulated by nutritional factors. However, it remains currently unknown whether maternal diet, in particular n–3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n–3PUFAs), can impact upon the IEB in newborn piglets and whether the ENS is involved in this effect. Sows received either a control diet (lard based) or an n–3PUFA diet (linseed oil based) during gestation and lactation. Intestinal paracellular permeability was assessed in Ussing chambers on piglets at birth, 3, 7, 14, 21 and 28 postnatal days (PND). Basal jejunal permeability increased significantly and similarly in both groups until PND14 and decreased thereafter. However, at PND28, permeability was higher in n–3PUFA animals as compared to controls. In addition, a vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) receptor antagonist increased paracellular permeability in controls but not in n–3PUFA piglets. Conversely, atropine and hexamethonium decreased paracellular permeability in the n–3PUFA group but not in the control group. Moreover, the n–3PUFA diet increased the proportion of choline acetyltransferase (ChAT)-immunoreactive (IR) neurons and decreased the proportion of VIP-IR neurons in the submucosal plexus of piglet jejunum compared to controls. In addition, in primary culture of rat ENS, we showed that 20:5n–3 but not 18:3n–3 increased the proportion of ChAT-IR neurons and decreased the proportion of VIP-IR neurons. In conclusion, supplementation of the maternal diet with n–3PUFAs modified intestinal permeability probably via diet-induced neuroplastic changes in the ENS of newborn piglets.