N-3 Fatty acids modulate antioxidant status in diabetic rats and their macrosomic offspring

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We investigated the role of dietary n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA) in the modulation of total antioxidant status in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats and their macrosomic offspring.


Female wistar rats, fed on control diet or n-3 PUFA diet, were rendered diabetic by administration of five mild doses of STZ on day 5 and were killed on days 12 and 21 of gestation. The macrosomic (MAC) pups were killed at the age of 60 and 90 days.


Lipid peroxidation was measured as the concentrations of plasma thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS), and the total antioxidant status was determined by measuring (i) plasma oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC), (ii) plasma vitamin A, E and C concentrations, and (iii) antioxidant enzymes activities in erythrocytes. The plasma lipid concentrations and fatty acid composition were also determined.


Diabetes increased plasma triglyceride and cholesterol concentrations, whereas macrosomia was associated with enhanced plasma cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which diminished by feeding n-3 PUFA diet. N-3 PUFA diet also reduced increased plasma TBARS and corrected the decreased ORAC values in diabetic rats and their macrosomic offspring. EPAX diet increased the diminished vitamin A levels in diabetic mothers and vitamin C concentrations in macrosomic pups. Also, this diet improved the decreased erythrocyte superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase activities in diabetic and macrosomic animals.


Diabetes and macrosomia were associated with altered lipid metabolism, antioxidant enzyme activities and vitamin concentrations. N-3 PUFA diet improved hyperlipidemia and restored antioxidant status in diabetic dams and MAC offspring.

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