Incorporation and effects of dietary eicosapentaenoate (20: 5(n - 3)) on plasma and erythrocyte lipids of the marmoset following dietary supplementation with differing levels of linoleic acid

Edward J. McMurchie, Josephine A. Rinaldi, Sharon L. Burnard, Glen S. Patten, Mark Neumann, Graeme H. McIntosh, Mavis Abbey, Robert A. Gibson

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The effect of dietary eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20:5(n - 3), as the ethyl ester) on plasma lipid levels and the incorporation of EPA into erythrocyte and plasma lipids were investigated in the marmoset monkey. Marmosets were fed high mixed-fat diets (14.5% total fat) supplemented with or without 0.8% EPA for 30 weeks. Markedly elevated plasma cholesterol (16.4 nunol/l) was induced by an atherogenic-type diet but with EPA supplementation, plasma cholesterol increased to only 6.6 nunol/l. Plasma triacylglycerol levels were not elevated with an atherogenic type diet. Substantial EPA incorporation was evident for plasma phospholipid, triacylglycerol and cholesterol ester fractions. The proportion of docosapentaenoic acid (22:5(n - 3)) but not docosahexaenoic acid (22:6(n - 3)) was also elevated in these plasma lipid fractions. Greatest incorporation of EPA occurred when it was administered with an atherogenic type diet having a P: M: S (polyunsaturated: monounsaturated: saturated) fatty acid ratio of about 0.2:0.6:1.0 in comparison to the control diet of 1.0:1.0:1.0. Incorporation of EPA and 22:5n - 3) into erythrocyte phospholipids was also apparent and this was at the expense of linoleic acid (18:2(n - 6)). These results in the marmoset highlight both the cholesterol-lowering properties of EPA and the extent of its incorporation into plasma lipids and erythrocyte membrane phospholipids with far greater incorporation occurring when the level of dietary linoleic acid was reduced.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-173
Number of pages10
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA)/Lipids and Lipid Metabolism
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 16 Jul 1990


  • (Marmoset monkey)
  • Erythrocyte lipid
  • Icosapentaenoic acid
  • Plasma cholesterol
  • Plasma lipid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology

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