α-Linolenic acid (ALA) is an essential fatty acid and the precursor for long-chain n-3 PUFA. However, biosynthesis of n-3 PUFA is limited in a Western diet likely due to an overabundance of n-6 PUFA. We hypothesized that dietary reduction of n-6/n-3 PUFA ratio is sufficient to promote the biosynthesis of long-chain n-3 PUFA, leading to an attenuation of high fat (HF) diet-induced obesity and inflammation. C57BL/6 J mice were fed a HF diet from ALA-enriched butter (n3Bu, n-6/n-3=1) in comparison with isocaloric HF diets from either conventional butter lacking both ALA and LA (Bu, n-6/n-3=6), or margarine containing a similar amount of ALA and abundant LA (Ma, n-6/n-3=6). Targeted lipidomic analyses revealed that n3Bu feeding promoted the bioconversion of long-chain n-3 PUFA and their oxygenated metabolites (oxylipins) derived from ALA and EPA. The n3Bu supplementation attenuated hepatic TG accumulation and adipose tissue inflammation, resulting in improved insulin sensitivity. Decreased inflammation by n3Bu feeding was attributed to the suppression of NF-κB activation and M1 macrophage polarization. Collectively, our work suggests that dietary reduction of the n-6/n-3 PUFA ratio, as well as total n-3 PUFA consumed, is a crucial determinant that facilitates n-3 PUFA biosynthesis and subsequent lipidomic modifications, thereby conferring metabolic benefits against obesity-induced inflammation and insulin resistance.
Keywords: ALA; Butter; Insulin Resistance; Macrophage Polarization; N-6/N-3 PUFA Ratio; Oxylipins.
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