Dietary Echium oil increases tissue (n-3) long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids without elevating hepatic lipid concentrations in premature neonatal rats.J Nutr. 2009 Jul; 139(7):1353-9.JN
Echium oil (EO) contains notable quantities of both (n-6) and (n-3) PUFA and has not, to our knowledge, been studied in neonates. We compared growth, tissue PUFA concentrations, and liver lipid profiles in premature neonatal Sprague-Dawley rats that were fed an EO diet with those that were dam-fed (DF) or fed rat milk substitute (RMS) or a fish oil (FO) diet. EO or FO comprised 10% of dietary fat. Rats were delivered prematurely at d 21 of gestation by caesarean section and then DF or fed one of the diets for 6 d. Rats were killed and the fatty acid (FA) concentrations in brain, liver, ileum, and serum and liver lipid profiles were analyzed. All diet-fed rats had similar weight gain and tissue protein concentrations. Compared with DF rats, EO-fed rats had similar brain docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) levels, similar brain and liver arachidonic acid (ARA) levels, higher liver and ileal eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) levels (P < 0.05), and similar ARA:(EPA+DHA) ratios in brain, liver, and serum. Compared with RMS-fed rats, EO-fed rats had lower liver triglyceride FA and cholesterol ester concentrations (P < 0.05), higher EPA and DHA levels in liver, ileum, and serum, a higher DHA level in brain, and lower tissue and serum ratios of total (n-6):(n-3) PUFA and ARA:(EPA + DHA) (P < 0.05). Compared with FO-fed rats, EO-fed rats had higher ARA levels in brain, liver, ileum, and serum. In conclusion, dietary EO increases tissue EPA and DHA without reducing ARA in brain and liver and without elevating hepatic lipid concentrations of premature neonatal rats.