Purpose: We investigated the effect of dietary fats on the incorporation of saturated (SAFAs) and monounsaturated dietary fatty acids (MUFAs) into plasma phospholipids and the regulation of the expression of lipid-metabolizing enzymes in the liver.
Methods: Mice were fed different diets containing commonly used dietary fats/oils (coconut fat, margarine, fish oil, sunflower oil, or olive oil) for 4 weeks (n = 6 per diet group). In a second experiment, mice (n = 6 per group) were treated for 7 days with synthetic ligands to activate specific nuclear hormone receptors (NHRs) and the hepatic gene expression of CYP26A1 was investigated. Hepatic gene expression of stearoyl-coenzyme A desaturase 1 (SCD1), elongase 6 (ELOVL6), and CYP26A1 was examined using quantitative real-time PCR (QRT-PCR). Fatty acid composition in mouse plasma phospholipids was analyzed by gas chromatography (GC).
Results: We found significantly reduced hepatic gene expression of SCD1 and ELOVL6 after the fish oil diet compared with the other diets. This resulted in reduced enzyme-specific fatty acid ratios, e.g., 18:1n9/18:0 for SCD1 and 18:0/16:0 and 18:1n7/16:1n7 for ELOVL6 in plasma phospholipids. Furthermore, CYP26A1 a retinoic acid receptor-specific target was revealed as a new player mediating the suppressive effect of fish oil-supplemented diet on SCD1 and ELOVL6 hepatic gene expression.
Conclusion: Plasma levels of MUFAs and SAFAs strongly reflect an altered hepatic fatty acid-metabolizing enzyme expression after supplementation with different dietary fats/oils.
Keywords: Coconut fat; Fish oil; Hepatic gene expression; Margarine; Olive oil; Sunflower oil.