High α-linolenic acid and fish oil ingestion promotes ovulation to the same extent in rats.Nutr Res. 2010 Oct; 30(10):731-8.NR
Prostaglandins (PG) have a regulatory influence on ovulation. α-Linolenic acid (ALA) vs eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) differently influence PG biosynthesis. Whereas high EPA/DHA reduces PGE₂, enhancing ovulation, we hypothesized that ALA would not affect ovulation. Our objective was to determine the effect of low and high ALA intake vs EPA/DHA on ovarian phospholipids, ovulation, and PG synthesis in rats. Following 27 days on diet and ovulation induction, ovaries were isolated and analyzed in 22 pups per diet. Ovarian phospholipid (n-3) polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) incorporation increased with EPA/DHA ingestion. With significant ovarian (n-3) PUFA or EPA (P < .05) enrichment in the high-n-3 PUFA diets, ova release increased. Although high ALA did not enrich total (n-3), it increased ova release and tissue EPA over low ALA or control. Dietary EPA/DHA more effectively reduced ovarian arachidonic acid levels than dietary ALA. Dietary ALA increased PGF and very high intake reduced PGE, whereas EPA/DHA did not alter PGE or PGF. Enhanced ova release with high (n-3) PUFA intake may be induced via multiple mechanisms including reduced ovarian arachidonic acid. Significant ovarian retention of EPA and DHA enhanced ovulation with unchanged total PGE and PGF. Lack of change in PGE may have resulted from reduced PGE₂ combined with increased PGE₃. When EPA alone was elevated, PGE was reduced, whereas PGF was increased. Results indicate that very high ALA intake enhances ovulation similar to very high EPA/DHA ingestion, an effect potentially mediated via similar patterns of PGF₂α and PGE₂ synthesis.