Eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid effects on tumour mitochondrial metabolism, acyl CoA metabolism and cell proliferation.


Colquhoun A, Ramos KL, Schumacher RI.




Cell Biochem Funct


In order to investigate the effects of high-fat diets rich in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), Wistar rats bearing subcutaneous implants of the Walker 256 tumour were fed pelleted chow containing low DHA/EPA or high DHA/EPA. The presence of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) led to a marked suppression (35-46%) of tumour growth over a 12 day period. Both the whole tumour homogenate and the Percoll-purified mitochondrial fraction presented significant changes in fatty acid composition. The levels of EPA increased in both n-3 dietary groups while the levels of DHA increased only in the high DHA/EPA group, in comparison with the control chow-fed group. The presence of n-3 PUFAs led to an increase in mitochondrial acyl CoA synthetase activity, but neither the cytoplasmic acyl CoA content nor the n-3 fatty acid composition of the cytoplasmic acyl CoAs was altered by the diet. The content of thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS) was increased in the low DHA/EPA group but was unchanged in the high DHA/EPA group. In vitro studies with the Walker 256 cell line showed a 46% decrease in cell growth in the presence of either EPA or DHA which was accompanied by a large decrease in the measured mitochondrial membrane potential. The TBARS content was increased only in the EPA-exposed cells. Cell cycle analysis identified a decrease in G0-G1 phase cells and an increase in G2-M phase cells and apoptotic cells, for both EPA and DHA-exposed cells. The data show that the presence of n-3 PUFAs in the diet is able to significantly after the growth rate of the Walker 256 tumour. The involvement of changes in mitochondrial membrane composition and membrane potential have been indicated for both EPA and DHA, while changes in lipid peroxidation have been identified in the presence of EPA but not of DHA. Copyright 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.