Fish Oil and CVD

November 4/Cardiovascular Week -- According to recent research from the U.S., "Fish oil (FO), and specifically omega 3 fatty acids, has favorable effects on cardiovascular outcomes. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of FO on the process of macrophage reverse cholesterol transport (RCT) in an in vivo mouse model."

"C57BL/6J mice were fed a FO diet, whereas control mice were fed diets containing alternative sources of fats, soybean oil (SO) and coconut oil (CO) for four weeks. Macrophage RCT was assessed by injecting [H-3]cholesterol-labeled J774 macrophages intraperitoneally into mice. After 48 hours, tissues were harvested and feces were collected. An increase in the excretion of macrophage-derived [H-3]-tracer recovered in fecal neutral sterols for FO-fed mice was observed (273% versus SO and 182% versus CO). FO also decreased [H-3]-tracer in hepatic cholesteryl ester compared to SO and CO by 76% and 56%, respectively. To specifically determine the effect of FO on the fate of HDL-derived cholesterol, mice fed FO or SO diets were injected with HDL labeled with [H-3]cholesteryl oleate, and the disappearance of [H-3]-tracer from blood and its excretion in feces was measured. There was no significant difference in the fractional catabolic rate of [H-3]cholesteryl oleate-HDL between the two groups. However, there was a 242% increase in the excretion of HDL-derived [H-3]-tracer recovered in fecal neutral sterols in FO-fed mice, concordant with significantly increased expression of hepatic Abcg5 and Abcg8 mRNA," wrote T. Nishimoto and colleagues, University of Pennsylvania.

The researchers concluded, "As measured by this tracer-based assay, FO promoted reverse cholesterol transport, primarily by enhancement of the hepatic excretion of macrophage-derived and HDL-derived cholesterol."

Nishimoto and colleagues published their study in Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology ("Fish Oil Promotes Macrophage Reverse Cholesterol Transport in Mice." Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, 2009;29(10):1502-U230).

For additional information, contact D.J. Rader, University of Pennsylvania, School Medical, Cardiovascular Institute, 654 BRB2-3, 421 Curie Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19104.

From the November 9, 2009, Prepared Foods E-dition