Different metabolism of EPA, DPA and DHA in humans: A double-blind cross-over study.Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2020 07; 158:102033.PL
This study aimed to compare eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) incorporated into red blood cells (RBC) phospholipids (PL), plasma PL, plasma triglyceride (TAG), and plasma cholesteryl ester (CE) fractions, and the metabolomics profiles in a double-blind cross-over study. Twelve female healthy subjects randomly consumed 1 g per day for 6 days of pure EPA, DPA, or DHA. The placebo treatment was olive oil. The fasting venous blood was taken at days 0, 3 and 6, and the RBC PL and plasma lipid fractions were separated for fatty acid determination using thin layer chromatography followed by gas chromatography. Plasma metabolites were analyzed by UHPLC-Q-Exactive Orbitrap/MS. Supplemental EPA significantly increased the concentrations of EPA in RBC PL (days 3 and 6). For subjects consuming the DPA supplement, the concentrations of both DPA and EPA were significantly increased in RBC PL over a 6-day period, respectively. For plasma PL fraction, EPA and DPA supplementation significantly increased the concentrations of EPA and DPA at both days 3 and 6, respectively. Supplemental DHA significantly increased the concentrations of DHA in plasma PL at day 6. For plasma TAG fraction, supplementation with EPA and DPA significantly increased the concentrations of EPA and DPA at both days 3 and 6, respectively. After DHA supplementation, significant increases in the concentrations of DHA were found relative to baseline at both days 3 and 6. For plasma CE fraction, EPA supplementation significantly increased the concentrations of EPA (days 3 and 6) and DPA (days 6), respectively. Supplemental DPA significantly increased the concentrations of EPA at day 6. Meanwhile, the concentrations of DHA were significantly increased over a 6-day period of intervention after subjects consuming the DHA supplements. There were a total of 922 plasma metabolites identified using metabolomics analyses. Supplementation with DPA and DHA significantly increased the levels of sphingosine 1-phosphate (P for DPA = 0.025, P for DHA = 0.029) and 15-deoxy-Δ12,14-prostaglandin A1 (P for DPA = 0.034; P for DHA = 0.021) in comparison with olive oil group. Additionally, supplementation with EPA (P = 0.007) and DHA (P = 0.005) significantly reduced the levels of linoleyl carnitine, compared with olive oil group. This study shows that DPA might act as a reservoir of n-3 LCP incorporated into blood lipid fractions, metabolized into DHA, and retro-converted back to EPA. Metabolomics analyses indicate that supplemental EPA, DPA and DHA have shared and differentiated metabolites. The differences of these metabolic biomarkers should be investigated in additional studies.