Nutr Res Pract.  2019 Aug;13(4):286-294. 10.4162/nrp.2019.13.4.286.

Deficiency or activation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α reduces the tissue concentrations of endogenously synthesized docosahexaenoic acid in C57BL/6J mice

  • 1Department of Nutrition, China Medical University, 91 Hsueh-Shih Road, Taichung 404, Taiwan.
  • 2Graduate Institute of Physiology, National Taiwan University, Taipei 100, Taiwan.
  • 3Department of Psychiatry and Mind-Body Interface Laboratory (MBI-Lab), China Medical University Hospital, Taichung 404, Taiwan.
  • 4Graduate Institute of Immunology, China Medical University, Taichung 404, Taiwan.


/OBJECTIVES: Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an n-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (LCPUFA), is acquired by dietary intake or the in vivo conversion of α-linolenic acid. Many enzymes participating in LCPUFA synthesis are regulated by peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPARα). Therefore, it was hypothesized that the tissue accretion of endogenously synthesized DHA could be modified by PPARα. MATERIALS/METHODS: The tissue DHA concentrations and mRNA levels of genes participating in DHA biosynthesis were compared among PPARα homozygous (KO), heterozygous (HZ), and wild type (WT) mice (Exp I), and between WT mice treated with clofibrate (PPARα agonist) or those not treated (Exp II). In ExpII, the expression levels of the proteins associated with DHA function in the brain cortex and retina were also measured. An n3-PUFA depleted/replenished regimen was applied to mitigate the confounding effects of maternal DHA.
PPARα ablation reduced the hepatic Acox, Fads1, and Fads2 mRNA levels, as well as the DHA concentration in the liver, but not in the brain cortex. In contrast, PPARα activation increased hepatic Acox, Fads1, Fads2 and Elovl5 mRNA levels, but reduced the DHA concentrations in the liver, retina, and phospholipid of brain cortex, and decreased mRNA and protein levels of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor in brain cortex.
LCPUFA enzyme expression was altered by PPARα. Either PPARα deficiency or activation-decreased tissue DHA concentration is a stimulus for further studies to determine the functional significance.


PPAR alpha; clofibrate; docosahexaenoic acids; brain-derived neurotrophic factor; fatty acid desaturases
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