Vertebrae of developing fat-1 mice have greater strength and lower n-6/n-3 fatty acid ratio

Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2009 Jun;234(6):632-8. doi: 10.3181/0808-RM-247. Epub 2009 Mar 23.


Incorporation of dietary n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) into bone may optimize bone development. The study objective was to use the fat-1 mouse, a transgenic model that synthesizes n-3 PUFA from n-6 PUFA, to determine if bone mineral density (BMD) and biomechanical bone strength were favourably modulated by lowering the n-6/n-3 PUFA ratio in vertebrae. Male and female wild-type and fat-1 mice were fed an AIN93-G diet containing 10% safflower oil from weaning through 12 weeks of age. Vertebrae BMD was determined by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry and peak load, a surrogate measure of fracture risk, was measured by a materials testing system. Vertebrae fatty acid composition was measured by gas liquid chromatography. At 12 weeks of age, vertebrae peak load was higher in fat-1 mice compared to wild-type (P = 0.026). Fat-1 mice also had lower n-6/n-3 PUFA ratio in vertebrae than wild-type (P < 0.001) and this ratio was negatively correlated with BMD and peak load (P = 0.005). Moreover, n-3 PUFA including alpha-linolenic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid were positively correlated (P < 0.05) with BMD and peak load. Therefore, a lower vertebrae n-6/n-3 PUFA ratio is associated with stronger vertebrae and suggests a positive role for n-3 PUFA in bone development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Density*
  • Bone Development*
  • Diet
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / genetics
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / metabolism*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-6 / genetics
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-6 / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Radiography
  • Spine / diagnostic imaging
  • Spine / metabolism*


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-6