Lifelong intake of flaxseed or menhaden oil to provide varying n-6 to n-3 PUFA ratios modulate bone microarchitecture during growth, but not after OVX in Sprague–Dawley rats

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Skeletal health is a lifelong process impacted by environmental factors, including nutrient intake. The n-3 source and PUFA ratio affect bone health in growing rats, or following ovariectomy (OVX), but no study has investigated the longitudinal effect of PUFA-supplementation throughout these periods of bone development.

Methods and results:

One-month-old, Sprague–Dawley rats (n = 98) were randomized to receive one of four diets from 1 through 6 months of age. Diets were modified from AIN-93G to contain a varying amount and source of n-3 (flaxseed versus menhaden oil) to provide an n-6 to n-3 ratio of 10:1 or 5:1. At 3 (prior to SHAM or OVX) and 6 months of age, bone microarchitecture of the tibia was quantified using in vivo micro-computed tomography (SkyScan 1176, Bruker microCT). Providing 5:1 (flaxseed) resulted in lower trabecular thickness and medullary area and greater cortical area fraction during growth compared to diets with a 10:1 PUFA ratio, but many of these differences were not apparent following OVX.


PUFA-supplementation at levels attainable in human diet modulates some bone structure outcomes during periods of growth, but is not an adequate strategy for the prevention of OVX-induced bone loss in rats

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