The metabolism and n−6/n−3 ratio of essential fatty acids in rats: Effect of dietary arachidonic acid and a mixture of sesame lignans (sesamin and episesamin)

Research paper by Rumi Umeda-Sawada, Megumi Ogawa, Osamu Igarashi

Indexed on: 01 Jun '98Published on: 01 Jun '98Published in: Lipids


In this study, we examined the effect of dietary arachidonic acid (AA) and sesame lignans on the content and n-6/n-3 ratio of polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) in rat liver and the concentrations of triglyceride (TG) and ketone bodies in serum. For 4 wk, rats were fed two types of dietary oils: (i) the control oil diet groups (CO and COS): soybean oil/perilla oil=5∶1, and (ii) the AA-rich oil group (AO and AOS): AA ethyl esters/palm oil/perilla oil=2∶∶1, with (COS and AOS) or without (CO and AO) 0.5% (w/w) of sesame lignans. Dietary AA and sesame lignans significantly affected hepatic PUFA metabolism. AA content and n-6/n-3 ratio in the liver were significantly increased in the AO group, despite the dietary total of n-6 PUFA being the same in all groups, while AOS diet reduced AA content and n-6/n-3 ratio to a level similar to the CO and COS groups. These results suggest that (i) dietary AA considerably affects the hepatic profile and n-6/n-3 ratio of PUFA, and (ii) dietary sesame lignans reduce AA content and n-6/n-3 ratio in the liver. In the AO group, the concentration of acetoacetate was significantly increased, but the ratio of β-hydroxybutyrate/acetoacetate was decreased. On the other hand, the AO diet increased the concentration of TG in serum by almost twofold as compared to other groups. However, the AOS diet significantly reduced serum IG level as compared to the AO group. In addition, the AOS diet signicantly increased the acetoacetate level, but reduced the β-hydroxybutyrate/acetoacetate ratio. These results suggest that dietary sesame lignans promote ketogenesis and reduce PUFA esterification into TG. This study resulted in two findings: (i) sesame lignans inhibited extreme changes of the n-6/n-3 ratio by reducing hepatic PUFA content, and (ii) the reduction of hepatic PUFA content may have occurred because of the effects of sesame lignans on PUFA degradation (oxidation) and esterification.