Perinatal n-3 fatty acid imbalance affects fatty acid composition in rat offspring.

Research paper by K-L Catherine KL Jen, Michael W MW Church, Chengyong C Wang, Marjan M Moghaddam, Lindsay L Dowhan, Faith F Laja, Janelle J Sherman

Indexed on: 21 Apr '09Published on: 21 Apr '09Published in: Physiology & Behavior


This study was designed to investigate the effects of high and low n-3 FA feeding during perinatal period on the growth and FA profiles in the Wistar rat offspring. Female rats were randomized into three diet groups during pregnancy and lactation (L): Control (CON, ratio of n-3/n-6 approximately 0.14, n=24); n-3 FA deficient (LOW, ratio of n-3/n-6 approximately 0, n=31) and n-3 FA excess (HIGH, ratio of n-3/n-6 approximately 14.0, n=23). Milk samples were obtained on L14. After L24, all offspring were fed the control diet until killed at 23-25 weeks of age. There were no group differences in maternal weight gains or offspring birth weights. After birth, the HIGH offspring weighed the least while CON offspring the most. The FA profiles of the CON and LOW milk resembled CON diet, and the HIGH milk resembled HIGH diet. Body FA profiles of males from all groups were similar to the CON milk profile, but the CON and LOW females resembled the CON milk, while the HIGH females resembled the HIGH milk. All HIGH offspring had increased n-3 levels and n-3/n-6 ratios (males: 0.16+/-0.01; females: 0.23+/-0.06). Thus LOW dams likely had maternal body fat mobilization that compensated for the deficiency in dietary n-3 FA, while a compensatory mechanism was not observed when intake was high. Excess amount of n-3 FA affected female offspring more than males. These data indicate the long-lasting effects of supplementation and supplementing high amounts of n-3 FA during pregnancy and lactation may not be advisable.