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ARS Home » Plains Area » Grand Forks, North Dakota » Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center » Dietary Prevention of Obesity-related Disease Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #344455

Title: Selective enrichment of n-3 fatty acids in human plasma lipid motifs following intake of marine fish

item ZACEK, PETR - Former ARS Employee
item Bukowski, Michael
item JOHNSON, LUANN - University Of North Dakota
item Raatz, Susan
item Picklo, Matthew

Submitted to: Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/7/2017
Publication Date: 4/1/2018
Publication URL:
Citation: Zacek, P., Bukowski, M.R., Johnson, L., Raatz, S.K., Picklo, M.J. 2018. Selective enrichment of n-3 fatty acids in human plasma lipid motifs following intake of marine fish. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. 54:57-65.

Interpretive Summary: Elevated blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids are associated with reductions in risk for cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease. However, we lack information regarding the specific blood lipid molecules into which omega-3 fatty are incorporated and whether these lipid molecules change with eating omega-3 rich marine fish like salmon. Using newly developed analytical techniques, we determined that in people only selective types of lipid molecules contain omega-3 fatty acids and found that the concentrations of only some of these lipid molecules increase following salmon intake. These data will assist with determining how omega -3 fatty acids impact health, provide better biomarkers of nutritional status, and may assist with discovering early biomarkers of disease.

Technical Abstract: Plasma levels of n-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA) are associated with a reduction in risk of cardiovascular disease and other chronic, age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s disease. In this work, we tested the hypothesis that n-3 LCPUFA fatty acids in human plasma are incorporated into selective lipid species following intake of n-3 LCPUFA rich marine fish. To test this hypothesis, we performed lipidomic analysis on plasma samples from a clinical trial in which participants consumed increasing amounts of farmed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). Under basal conditions, n-3 and n-6 LCPUFA were selectively incorporated into plasma phosphatidylcholine (PC) species containing saturated fatty acids (SFA) versus unsaturated fatty acids as the complementary fatty acids. LCPUFA were incorporated into selective triacylglycerol (TAG) species with complementary diacylglyceryl environments of 34:1 or 34:2 (for 20:5 and 22:5) and 36:2>36:3>36:4 and 36:1 (for 20:4 and 22:6). High n-3 LCPUFA marine fish intake resulted in selective increases of PC SFA_n-3 LCPUFA species and LCPUFA-containing TAG species. Changes in cholesteryl esters and phosphatidylethanolamines also occurred following fish intake. Our results highlight the importance of discriminating phospholipid and TAG species and dietary background when evaluating lipidomic outcomes and disease associations.