Omega-3 fatty acids in the gravid pig uterus as affected by maternal supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids

January 1, 2009 Human Health and Nutrition Data 0 Comments

Omega-3 fatty acids in the gravid pig uterus as affected by maternal supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids

Year: 2009
Authors: Brazle, A.E. Johnson, B.J. Webel, S.K. Rathbun, T.J. Davis, D.L.
Publication Name: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Details: Volume 87; Number 3; Pages 994 – 1002 .


Two experiments evaluated the ability of maternal fatty acid supplementation to alter conceptus and endometrial fatty acid composition. In Exp. 1, treatments were control, corn-soybean meal diet; flax, control diet plus ground flax (3.75% of diet); and protected fatty acids (PFA), control plus a protected fish oil source rich in n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (Gromega, 1.5% of diet). Supplements replaced equal parts of corn and soybean meal. When gilts reached 170 d of age, PG600 (PMSG and hCG) was injected to induce puberty and dietary treatments (n =8/ treatment) initiated. When detected in estrus, gilts were artificially inseminated. On day 40 to 43 of gestation, 7 control, 8 PFA, and 5 Flax gilts were pregnant and were slaughtered. Compared to control, flax tended to increase eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA: C20:5n-3) in fetuses (0.14 vs 0.25 + 0.03 mg/g dry tissue; P = 0.055) while gilts receiving PFA had more (P < 0.05) docosahexaenoic acid (DHA: C22:6n-3) in their fetuses (5.23 vs 4.04 + 0.078 mg/g) as compared to controls. Both flax and PFA diets increased (P < 0.05) DHA (0.60, 0.82, and 0.85 + 0.078 mg/g for control, flax and PFA, respectively) in the chorioallantois. In the endometrium, EPA and docosapentaenoic acid (DPA: C22:5n-3) were increased by flax (P < 0.001; P < 0.05); whereas, gilts receiving PFA had increased DHA (P < 0.001). Flax selectively increased EPA and PFA selectively increased DHA in the fetus and endometrium. In Exp. 2, gilts were fed diets containing PFA (1.5%) or control beginning at approximately 170 of age (n = 13/treatment). A blood sample was collected after 30 d of treatment, and gilts were artificially inseminated when they were approximately 205 d old. Conceptus and endometrial samples were collected on d 11 to 19 of pregnancy. Plasma samples indicated that PFA increased (P < 0.005) circulating concentrations of EPA and DHA. Endometrial EPA was increased (P < 0.001) for PFA gilts. In extraembryonic tissues, PFA more than doubled (P < 0.001) EPA (0.13 vs 0.32 + 0.013 mg/g) and DHA (0.39 vs 0.85 +0.05 mg/g). In embryonic tissue on d 19, DHA was increased (P < 0.05) by PFA (0.20 vs 0.30 + 0.023mg/g). Supplementing n-3 PUFA, beginning 30 d before breeding, affects endometrial, conceptus and fetal fatty acid composition in early pregnancy. Dynamic day effects in fatty acid composition indicate this may be a critical period for maternal fatty acid resources to affect conceptus development and survival. (Author's abstract)
The maternal diet impacts prenatal and postnatal growth and physiology. In pigs, supplementing the maternal diet with omega-3 fatty acids has improved pre- and post-natal survival. Human studies indicate differential placental transport of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to the fetus. The effects of supplementing the maternal diet with omega-3 fatty acids on the total concentrations of fatty acids the porcine fetus was assessed in this study. The fatty acid concentrations in the endometrium and extraembryonic membranes was determined as these tissues have supportive and transport functions that are essential for the developing fetus.  The present data demonstrate that maternal omega-3 fatty acid supplementation changes the fatty acid composition of the maternal and conceptus tissues in the gravid uterus. First, omega-3 supplementation resulted in different plasma fatty acid profiles in PFA-treated compared to control-fed gilts. These data clearly indicate the supplemental source of fatty acids was absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract and available for use by gilts. In the endometrium and fetus, flax increased EPA but did not increase DHA. However, in the chorioallantois, flax increased DHA. These data may indicate that enzyme activities in the chorioallantois allow ALA conversion to DHA more efficiently than in other tissues. Differential uptake of the fatty acids provided by the endometrium is also a possibility. It may be that the flax-induced increase in DHA in the chorioallantois is part of a mechanism that allows the placenta to enhance the percentage DHA in the fetus. The present data indicate that altering the maternal diet can affect fatty acid composition of the conceptus as early as d 19 of pregnancy. Near the end of gestation, a preference for DHA is justified in terms of a need for brain maturation. Further work is needed to understand the fatty acid requirements of the chorioallantois and endometrium and of the roles of these tissues in transporting of specific fatty acids to the porcine fetus. (Editor's comments)

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