Effects of endotoxin on pigs prefed ω-3 vs. ω-6 fatty acid-enriched diets

M. J. Murray, B. A. Svingen, T. L. Yaksh, R. T. Holman

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29 Scopus citations


We investigated in a porcine model whether ω-3 fatty acids modify the physiological response to sepsis. For 8 days, 16 male pigs were fed a diet containing 18% fat by weight enriched with either ω-3 or ω-6 fatty acids (FA). A group of six pigs receiving their regular diet served as controls. The ω-3 FA-supplemented pigs had elevated levels of ω-3 FA in their serum- free FA, serum phospholipid (PL), and platelet PL levels compared with either of the other groups. On the ninth day, the unanesthetized pigs were injected with 0.3 mg/kg of endotoxin (Escherichia coli) intravenously. The animals had a significant decrease in their arterial O2 pressure (Pa(O2)) [from 84.4 ± 6.8 (SD) to 64 ± 9.4, and from 83.1 ± 7.2 to 55.9 ± 6.3 mmHg in the ω-6 FA and regular diet groups, respectively]. The Pa(O2) did not decrease in the ω-3 FA pigs. The ω-3 FA group had significantly lower pulmonary vascular resistance (541 ± 205 dyn · s · cm-5) 20 min after endotoxin compared with either the ω-6 FA or regular diet groups (797 ± 233 and 1.102 ± 552 dyn · s · cm-5, respectively) and more normal blood pressure compared with the other two groups. Plasma thromboxane (Tx) B2 and 6- ketoprostaglandin F(1α) (6-keto-PGF(1α)) levels were lowest in the ω-3 FA diet group and highest in the regular diet group. The fall in Pa(O2) was correlated with changes in plasma levels of TxB2 measured at the same time as the Pa(O2) (r = -0.64, P < 0.02) and with changes in plasma levels of 6- keto-PGF(1α) (r = -0.51, P < 0.05). It is possible with a short-term diet containing high amounts of ω-3 FA to increase plasma and platelet concentrations of ω-3 FA. These diets reduced the rise in plasma eicosanoid levels and maintained arterial oxygenation, arterial blood pressure, and more normal pulmonary vascular resistance in response to intravenous endotoxin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E920-E927
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number6 28-6
StatePublished - 1993


  • arachidonic acid
  • eicosanoids
  • eicosapentaenoic acid
  • sepsis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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