Dietary fish oil upregulates intestinal lipid metabolism and reduces body weight gain in C57BL/6J mice

J Nutr. 2007 Dec;137(12):2629-34. doi: 10.1093/jn/137.12.2629.


Fish oils (FO) rich in (n-3) PUFA exert hypolipidemic and antiobesity effects in association with modulated hepatic lipid metabolism. We recently demonstrated the possible involvement of intestinal lipid metabolism in the development of obesity. In this study, we examined the effect of FO ingestion on intestinal lipid metabolism in relation to obesity. When diet-induced obesity-prone C57BL/6J mice were fed an 8% FO, high-fat (30%) diet for 5 mo, body weight gain was significantly reduced compared with mice fed a 30% triacylglycerol (TG) diet without FO. In addition to modulating messenger RNA (mRNA) levels in the liver, FO ingestion for 2 wk affected the intestinal mRNA levels of lipid metabolism-related genes; those of carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1a, cytochrome P450 4A10, and malic enzyme were significantly higher in mice fed the 8% FO diet compared with mice fed the 30% TG diet. Northern blot analysis revealed that the expression levels of most lipid metabolism-related genes in the small intestine of mice fed the 8% FO diet were comparable to those in the liver. Furthermore, reflecting the difference at the mRNA level, FO ingestion affected lipid metabolism-related enzyme activity; fatty acid beta-oxidation, omega-oxidation, and malic enzyme activities in the small intestine of mice fed the 8% FO diet were 1.2-, 1.6-, and 1.7-fold those in mice fed the 30% TG diet, respectively. These findings suggest that an upregulation of intestinal lipid metabolism is associated with the antiobesity effect of FO.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue, White
  • Animals
  • Body Weight / drug effects*
  • Diet*
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Fish Oils / pharmacology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Intestine, Small / drug effects*
  • Intestine, Small / metabolism*
  • Lipid Metabolism / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Obesity
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Triglycerides / pharmacology
  • Weight Gain / drug effects


  • Fatty Acids
  • Fish Oils
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Triglycerides