Metabolic syndrome: effects of n-3 PUFAs on a model of dyslipidemia, insulin resistance and adiposity

Lipids. 2007 May;42(5):427-37. doi: 10.1007/s11745-007-3039-3. Epub 2007 Mar 17.


Both genetic and environmental factors (e.g. nutrition, life style) contribute to the development of the plurimetabolic syndrome, which has a high prevalence in the world population. Dietary n-3 PUFAs specially those from marine oil (EPA and DHA) appear to play an important role against the adverse effects of this syndrome. The present work examined the effectiveness of fish oil (FO) in reversing or improving the dyslipidemia, insulin resistance and adiposity induced in rats by long-term feeding a sucrose-rich diet (SRD). We studied several metabolic and molecular mechanisms involved in both lipid and glucose metabolisms in different tissues (liver, skeletal muscle, fat pad) as well as insulin secretion patterns from perifused islets under the stimulation of different secretagogues. Dietary FO reverses dyslipidemia and improves insulin action and adiposity in the SRD fed rats. FO reduces adipocytes cell size and thus, the smaller adipocytes are more insulin sensitive and the release of fatty acids decreases. In muscle, FO normalizes both the oxidative and non-oxidative glucose pathways. Moreover, FO modifies the fatty acid composition of membrane phospholipids. In isolated beta cells, lipid contents and glucose oxidation return to normal. All these effects could contribute to the normalization of glucose-stimulated insulin secretion and muscle insulin insensitivity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / drug effects
  • Adipose Tissue / embryology
  • Animals
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Dyslipidemias / metabolism*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / administration & dosage
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / pharmacology*
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology*
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat / metabolism*
  • Islets of Langerhans / metabolism
  • Lipid Metabolism / drug effects
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / metabolism*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Sucrose / administration & dosage
  • Triglycerides / metabolism


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Triglycerides
  • Sucrose
  • Glucose