Arachidonic Acid Accumulation and Delta-5 Desaturation in Felines After Feeding a Gamma-Linolenic Acid Enriched Diet



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Feline lipid metabolism is a topic for greater exploration due to this specie?s unique characteristics. Cats express limited Delta 6-desaturase activity necessary for conversion of linoleic acid (LA, 18:2n-6) to arachidonic acid (AA, 20:4n-6). The possibility exists that Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA, 18:3n-6) may serve as a precursor of AA in reproductive tissues especially if coupled with chain elongation and a functionally active Delta 5-desaturase. In addition no research has been conducted regarding feline reproductive Delta 8-desaturase activity as an alternate to the production of AA. To investigate desaturation activities, a group of 26 adult female cats were randomly assigned into 1 of 3 groups based on the diet fed: High Linoleic Acid (HL, n=7), Low Linoleic Acid (LL, n=9), and High Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA, n=10).The diets were fed for 300 days prior to ovariohysterectomy at which time EDTA plasma and ovarian, uterine, and subcutaneous adipose tissues were collected. Homogenates of each tissue were prepared and frozen in aliquots at -80 degrees C. Total lipids were extracted from the plasma and tissue homogenates followed by phospholipid (PL) fractionation via thin layer chromatography and fatty acid (FA) analyses by gas chromatography. The Shapiro-Wilks test was used to determine normal distribution of FA data followed by One-Way ANOVA and Tukey multiple comparisons (p<0.05). Plasma PLs were significantly increased in both GLA and dihomo-Gamma-linolenic acid (DGLA, 20:3n-6Delta8,11,14) in the GLA group and statistically increased in 20:2n-6 and 20:3n-6(Delta5,11,14) in the HL group. Uterine tissue homogenates had significantly increased amounts of DGLA and AA, however ovarian tissue showed an increase of only DGLA. Adipose tissue FAs showed significantly high amounts of DGLA in the GLA group. It is concluded that a high GLA diet results in increased AA in uterine, but not ovarian, tissues and thus may supply eicosanoid precursors in support of reproduction. The presence of increased amounts of 20:3n-6(Delta5,11,14) and not AA in the plasma and uterine tissues in the HL group suggests that Delta6-desaturase cannot be induced and that Delta8-desaturase is not active when feeding high dietary LA. Furthermore, the increase in DGLA may provide an adipose storage reservoir for additional conversion under times of metabolic need. These data support the presence of a functionally active Delta5-desaturase in uterine, but not ovarian, tissues. The findings also suggest that increased dietary GLA may be used to meet the AA requirements for reproduction in cats in the absence of an animal based pre-formed source of AA.