Comparison of the bioavailability of docosapentaenoic acid (DPA, 22:5N-3) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20:5n-3) in the rat

Samaneh Ghasemi Fard, Kaisa M. Linderborg, Giovanni M. Turchini, Andrew J. Sinclair

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Based on the results from a human study which showed significantly reduced incorporation of DPA compared with EPA into chylomicrons, this study was designed to test if dietary DPA was significantly less absorbed than EPA. Male Sprague Dawley rats were randomly assigned to three groups of six, and were fed a semi-synthetic high fat diet (23.5% fat) for 9 days. The test omega 3 fatty acids (EPA and DPA, 250. mg/animal/day, free fatty acid form) or olive oil (250. mg/animal/day) were added to the high fat diet on days 5, 6 and 7. Dietary EPA and DPA appeared in the faeces on days 6, 7 and 8, with the total amount of DPA excreted being 4.6-fold greater than that of EPA. The total amount of faecal fat did not differ significantly between the groups. At the conclusion of the study (day 9), it was found that liver DPA, EPA and total n-3 LC-PUFA levels were significantly increased by both DPA and EPA feeding compared with the olive oil fed control group. In the heart, DPA feeding increased the DPA content and both DPA and EPA feeding increased the total n-3 LC-PUFA levels. This study showed that DPA and EPA, both provided in free form, are metabolised differently, despite being chemically similar.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-26
Number of pages4
JournalProstaglandins Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • 20:5n-3
  • 22:5n-3
  • Absorption
  • Excretion
  • Lipid metabolism
  • N-3 Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA)
  • Omega-3

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