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Effects of ω-3 and ω-6 fatty acids

Egger-Peitler, Kilian (2017) BIOP01 20161
Degree Projects in Biology
Abstract
Abstract: The importance of dietary fatty acids (FAs), in particular omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated (PUFAs), for immune system functions has been recognised and well-studied in mammals over the last decades. Recent studies suggest that similar positive/negative (e.g. strengthened/weakened immune com-petence) effects can be present in avian species. In this study, I explored these effects of ω-3 and ω-6 PUFAs, by enriching the diet of adult Zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata), to test if dietary PUFAs can directly affect the immune response of an individual. I used the endotoxin lipopolysaccharide (LPS) to induce an immune response in form of an acute phase response (APR) and measured body weight, hap-toglobin, and haemagglutination... (More)
Abstract: The importance of dietary fatty acids (FAs), in particular omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated (PUFAs), for immune system functions has been recognised and well-studied in mammals over the last decades. Recent studies suggest that similar positive/negative (e.g. strengthened/weakened immune com-petence) effects can be present in avian species. In this study, I explored these effects of ω-3 and ω-6 PUFAs, by enriching the diet of adult Zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata), to test if dietary PUFAs can directly affect the immune response of an individual. I used the endotoxin lipopolysaccharide (LPS) to induce an immune response in form of an acute phase response (APR) and measured body weight, hap-toglobin, and haemagglutination and haemolysis titres. The different dietary FAs did not have an effect on the immune competence of zebra finches. I was able to detect differences between sexes, and between individuals in different life stages (i.e. reproducing vs. non-reproducing), suggesting a reallocation of re-sources and a trade-off between life-history traits. (Less)
Popular Abstract
Keeping one’s balance: omega-fatty acids and the immune system

In today’s society nutrition and what you eat is seen to play an important role in everyday life. New revelations and insights about nutrients appear weekly in papers and in the media. Being aware of the content of the food we consume is vital, and keeping up a balanced diet is even more important. Studies over the last two decades revealed how unbalanced our food is regarding various nutrients, and what this imbalance might affect (e.g. higher allergy risks). One of the most discussed and ubiquitous nutrients are fats, in particular fatty acids (FAs) of the omega-groups, such as omega-3 and omega-6 FAs.

These FAs are important components of the cell, which utilizes them... (More)
Keeping one’s balance: omega-fatty acids and the immune system

In today’s society nutrition and what you eat is seen to play an important role in everyday life. New revelations and insights about nutrients appear weekly in papers and in the media. Being aware of the content of the food we consume is vital, and keeping up a balanced diet is even more important. Studies over the last two decades revealed how unbalanced our food is regarding various nutrients, and what this imbalance might affect (e.g. higher allergy risks). One of the most discussed and ubiquitous nutrients are fats, in particular fatty acids (FAs) of the omega-groups, such as omega-3 and omega-6 FAs.

These FAs are important components of the cell, which utilizes them in various ways (e.g. structure, signalling, and energy). Omega-3 FAs have anti-inflammatory properties, and omega-6 FAs have pro-inflammatory properties, both FAs are important for the sensitivity and reactivity of the cell, and ultimately the organism, to a pathogens/antigens. An imbalance between omega-6 and omega-3 in the cell/organism is thought to promote health problems. In this experimental study, I fed zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata, Fig.1) differently enriched seed diets (either with omega-3 oil, or omega-6 oil) to investigate their effects on the birds’ immune system.

By injecting 100 birds with bacteria (similar to a vaccination), I investigated the direct effects of these omega-FAs on the birds’ immune system and its reaction to a pathogen/antigen. Additionally, I observed the birds’ breeding performance and investigated the possible effects of the FAs on the number of eggs, starting of egg laying, egg weight, yolk FA-composition, etc.

Results and Implications
The diet treatments showed no effect on the immune system performance of the different treatment groups. Only a difference between the sexes could be detected. Females seemed to have a less sensitive/reactive immune system than males. Additionally, a difference could be detected between breeding and non-breeding birds, where breeders showed a less sensitive/reactive immune system. Possibly, the bird’s sex and if it was breeding or not overpowered the effects of the dietary FAs. The breeding performances of the groups were also not affected by the varying dietary FAs, but the eggs’ yolk FA-composition was different.

Although, the birds showed not to be directly affected by the dietary FAs the results obtained from the eggs’ yolk-FA analyses imply that the provided dietary resources (FAs in the seeds) were reallocated and used as provisioning for the next generation. The positive and negative effects of omega-3 and omega-6 FAs in the development of embryos is well documented, hence, this study shows a trade-off at the expense of the parental health for a possible benefit of the upcoming generation.

Master’s Degree Project in Biology, 60 credits, 2017
Department of Biology, Lund University

Advisor: Caroline Isaksson
Department/Unit: Department of Biology, Evolutionary Ecology U (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Egger-Peitler, Kilian
supervisor
organization
course
BIOP01 20161
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
language
English
id
8926233
date added to LUP
2017-09-25 09:21:52
date last changed
2017-09-25 09:21:52
@misc{8926233,
  abstract     = {Abstract: The importance of dietary fatty acids (FAs), in particular omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated (PUFAs), for immune system functions has been recognised and well-studied in mammals over the last decades. Recent studies suggest that similar positive/negative (e.g. strengthened/weakened immune com-petence) effects can be present in avian species. In this study, I explored these effects of ω-3 and ω-6 PUFAs, by enriching the diet of adult Zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata), to test if dietary PUFAs can directly affect the immune response of an individual. I used the endotoxin lipopolysaccharide (LPS) to induce an immune response in form of an acute phase response (APR) and measured body weight, hap-toglobin, and haemagglutination and haemolysis titres. The different dietary FAs did not have an effect on the immune competence of zebra finches. I was able to detect differences between sexes, and between individuals in different life stages (i.e. reproducing vs. non-reproducing), suggesting a reallocation of re-sources and a trade-off between life-history traits.},
  author       = {Egger-Peitler, Kilian},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Effects of ω-3 and ω-6 fatty acids},
  year         = {2017},
}