Medium-chain triglycerides and monounsaturated fatty acids potentiate the beneficial effects of fish oil on selected cardiovascular risk factors in rats

J Nutr Biochem. 2016 Feb;28:91-102. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2015.10.005. Epub 2015 Oct 26.


Fish oil (FO) rich in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is known to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). Little information is known regarding the influence of lipid composition in the background diet on the modulatory effect of FO supplementation on CVDs. The present study was designed to investigate the influence of various background dietary lipids and FO on selected cardiovascular risk factors in rats. Adult Wistar rats were fed semisynthetic diet with FO at 1.0% or 2.0% along with other lipids, namely, medium-chain triacylglycerols (MCTs), monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and n-3 PUFAs, for 5 weeks. Some of the potent CVD risk factors were estimated in the rats. FO at 1.0% and 2.0% has significantly reduced serum lipid peroxides, total cholesterol, triglycerides (TAGs), tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin-6 and C-reactive protein; liver and adipose TAG and cholesterol levels in MCT, MUFA and n-6 PUFA diet groups. Notably, these alterations were comparatively higher in 1.0% FO-substituted MCT and MUFA diet groups. Interestingly, feeding of FO along with n-3 PUFAs did not show additive effect in attenuation of these factors. Serum liver EPA and DHA levels were remarkably elevated in rats fed FO-enriched MCT or MUFA diets. Our results suggest that MCTs or MUFAs in the background diet might promote the beneficial effects of FO on CVDs.

Keywords: Arachidonic acid; Cardiovascular disease; Cytokines; Fatty acids; Fish oil; n-3 PUFA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Drug Synergism
  • Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated / administration & dosage*
  • Fish Oils / administration & dosage*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Risk Factors
  • Triglycerides / administration & dosage*


  • Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated
  • Fish Oils
  • Triglycerides