Prevention of chemically induced diabetes mellitus in experimental animals by polyunsaturated fatty acids

Nutrition. 2001 Feb;17(2):126-51. doi: 10.1016/s0899-9007(00)00468-8.


Previous studies showed that essential fatty-acid deficiency, conjugated linoleic acid, and a peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma binding agent such as troglitazone can prevent the development of diabetes mellitus in experimental animals. In the present study, we observed that oral supplementation with oils rich in omega-3 eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid and omega-6 gamma-linolenic acid and arachidonic acid could protect the animals against alloxan-induced diabetes mellitus. These oils rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids not only significantly attenuated chemical-induced diabetes mellitus but also restored the antioxidant status to normal range. Changes in the concentrations of different fatty acids shown by the phospholipid fractions of plasma, liver, and muscle tissues that occurred as a result of alloxan-induced diabetes mellitus also reverted to normal in these animals. Based on these results and the known mechanisms of alloxan, we suggest that omega-3 and omega-6 long-chain fatty acids can prevent chemically induced diabetes mellitus by enhancing the antioxidant status and suppressing production of cytokines.

MeSH terms

  • Alloxan
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / analysis
  • Cytokines / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / prevention & control*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / prevention & control*
  • Eicosanoids / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / administration & dosage
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / therapeutic use
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-6
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / administration & dosage
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / therapeutic use*
  • Fish Oils
  • Insulin / blood
  • Male
  • Organ Specificity
  • Phospholipids / biosynthesis
  • Phospholipids / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Antioxidants
  • Cytokines
  • Eicosanoids
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-6
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • Fish Oils
  • Insulin
  • Phospholipids
  • Alloxan