Plant- and Fish-Derived n-3 PUFAs Suppress Citrobacter Rodentium-Induced Colonic Inflammation

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2020 Mar;64(6):e1900873. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201900873. Epub 2020 Feb 12.


Scope: Marine-derived n-3 PUFAs may ameliorate inflammation associated with inflammatory bowel diseases. Plant-derived n-3 PUFAs are thought to be inferior owing to shorter chain lengths. The aim of this study is to compare the impact of plant- and fish-derived PUFAs on murine colitis.

Methods and results: C57BL/6 mice are fed high fat (36% kcal) diets with either 2.5% w/w sunflower oil (SO), flaxseed oil (FSO), ahiflower oil (AO), or fish oil (FO). After 4 weeks, mice are orogastrically challenged with Citrobacter rodentium (108 CFU) or sham gavaged. Fecal shedding is assayed at 2, 7, 10, and 14 days post infection (PI), and fecal microbiota at 14 days PI. Colonic inflammation and lipid mediators are measured. Supplementation regulates intestinal inflammation with crypt lengths being 66, 73, and 62 ±17 µm shorter (compared to SO) for FSO, AO, and FO respectively, p < 0.01. FSO blunts pathogen shedding at the peak of infection and FSO and AO both enhance fecal microbial diversity. FO attenuates levels of lipoxin and leukotriene B4 while plant oils increase pro-resolving mediator concentrations including D, E, and T-series resolvins.

Conclusion: Plant and fish n-3 PUFAs attenuate colitis-induced inflammation while exhibiting characteristic pro-resolving lipid mediator metabolomes. Plant oils additionally promote microbial diversity.

Keywords: PUFAs; colon; inflammation; lipid mediators.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Shedding / drug effects
  • Citrobacter rodentium / pathogenicity*
  • Colitis / diet therapy*
  • Colitis / microbiology
  • Colitis / pathology
  • Colon / drug effects
  • Colon / metabolism
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Enterobacteriaceae Infections / diet therapy
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / pharmacology*
  • Fish Oils / pharmacology*
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism
  • Linseed Oil / chemistry
  • Linseed Oil / pharmacology
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology*
  • Sunflower Oil / pharmacology


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Fish Oils
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Plant Oils
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Linseed Oil