Free access
Reprod. Nutr. Dev.
Volume 46, Number 5, September-October 2006
5th annual INRA-Meeting: Mammary gland and milk
Page(s) 515 - 525
Published online 23 September 2006
Reprod. Nutr. Dev. 46 (2006) 515-525
DOI: 10.1051/rnd:2006033

The retina is more susceptible than the brain and the liver to the incorporation of trans isomers of DHA in rats consuming trans isomers of alpha-linolenic acid

Niyazi Acara, b, Brigitte Bonhommec, Corinne Joffrea, b, Alain M. Brond, b, Catherine Creuzot-Garcherd, b, Lionel Bretillona, b, Michel Dolyc and Jean-Michel Chardignya, e

a  INRA, Lipid Nutrition Unit, 17, rue Sully, BP86510, Dijon Cedex, 21065 France
b  Current affiliation: INRA, UMR FLAVIC, Eye and Nutrition Research Group, 17 rue Sully, BP 86510, Dijon Cedex, 21065 France
c  Laboratory of Biophysics, School of Pharmacy, University of Auvergne, UPRES - EA 2667, 28 place Henri Dunant, BP38, Clermont-Ferrand, 63001 France
d  Department of Ophthalmology, University Hospital, 3 rue du Faubourg Raines, BP 519, Dijon, 21033 France
e  Current affiliation: INRA, UMR1019, Équipe MLE, Clermont-Ferrand, CRNH Auvergne, Clermont-Ferrand, 63009 France

(Published online 23 September 2006)

Abstract - Trans polyunsaturated fatty acids are formed during heat treatments of vegetable oils from polyunsaturated fatty acids containing cis double bonds. After dietary intake, they are distributed in the body and are incorporated into nervous tissues including the retina. Since nervous tissues are known to be rich in n-3 fatty acids such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), we studied the ability of the retina and the brain to incorporate trans isomers of DHA formed in vivo from the dietary precursor trans $\alpha $-linolenic acid. Wistar rats were fed with trans isomers of $\alpha $-linolenic acid for 21 months. A linear incorporation of trans DHA and a decrease in cis DHA was observed in the retina, whereas no major changes were observed in the brain. In parallel to the modifications in retinal cis and trans DHA levels, the retinal functionality evaluated by the electroretinogram showed defects in animals that consumed trans $\alpha $-linolenic acid. These results suggest that the mechanisms leading to the incorporation of cis and trans fatty acids are quite different in the retina when compared to the brain and the liver, the retina being more susceptible to changes in the dietary lipid contribution.

Key words: dietary trans polyunsaturated fatty acids / rat / retina / cerebral cortex / electroretinography

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© INRA, EDP Sciences 2006