The beneficial effects of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs), especially in dyslipidemic subjects with a high risk of cardiovascular disease, are widely described in the literature. A lot of effects of n-3 PUFAs and their oxidized metabolites are triggered by regulating the expression of genes. Currently, it is uncertain if the administration of n-3 PUFAs results in different expression changes of genes related to antioxidative mechanisms in normo- and dyslipidemic subjects, which may partly explain their cardioprotective effects. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of n-3 PUFA supplementation on expression changes of genes involved in oxidative processes.

Ten normo- and ten dyslipidemic men were supplemented for twelve weeks with fish oil capsules, providing 1.14 g docosahexaenoic acid and 1.56 g eicosapentaenoic acid. Gene expression levels were determined by whole genome microarray analysis and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR).

Using microarrays, we discovered an increased expression of antioxidative enzymes and a decreased expression of pro-oxidative and tissue enzymes, such as cytochrome P450 enzymes and matrix metalloproteinases, in both normo- and dyslipidemic men. An up-regulation of catalase and heme oxigenase 2 in both normo- and dyslipidemic subjects and an up-regulation of cytochrome P450 enzyme 1A2 only in dyslipidemic subjects could be observed by qRT-PCR analysis.

Supplementation of normo- and dyslipidemic subjects with n-3 PUFAs changed the expression of genes related to oxidative processes, which may suggest antioxidative and potential cardioprotective effects of n-3 PUFAs. Further studies combining genetic and metabolic endpoints are needed to verify the regulative effects of n-3 PUFAs in antioxidative gene expression to better understand their beneficial effects in health and disease prevention.

PMID: 22621246

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