Rise in DPA Following SDA-Rich Dietary Echium Oil Less Effective in Affording Anti-Arrhythmic Actions Compared to High DHA Levels Achieved with Fish Oil in Sprague-Dawley Rats.Nutrients. 2016 Jan 04; 8(1)N
Stearidonic acid (SDA; C18:4n-3) has been suggested as an alternative to fish oil (FO) for delivering health benefits of C ≥ 20 long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC n-3 PUFA). Echium oil (EO) represents a non-genetically-modified source of SDA available commercially. This study compared EO and FO in relation to alterations in plasma and tissue fatty acids, and for their ability to afford protection against ischemia-induced cardiac arrhythmia and ventricular fibrillation (VF). Rats were fed (12 weeks) diets supplemented with either EO or FO at three dose levels (1, 3 and 5% w/w; n = 18 per group). EO failed to influence C22:6n-3 (DHA) but increased C22:5n-3 (DPA) in tissues dose-dependently, especially in heart tissue. Conversely, DHA in hearts of FO rats showed dose-related elevation; 14.8%-24.1% of total fatty acids. Kidney showed resistance for incorporation of LC n-3 PUFA. Overall, FO provided greater cardioprotection than EO. At the highest dose level, FO rats displayed lower (p < 0.05) episodes of VF% (29% vs. 73%) and duration (22.7 ± 12.0 vs. 75.8 ± 17.1 s) than the EO group but at 3% EO was comparable to FO. We conclude that there is no endogenous conversion of SDA to DHA, and that DPA may be associated with limited cardiac benefit.