Postprandial metabolism of docosapentaenoic acid (DPA, 22: 5n-3) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20:5n-3) in humans

Kaisa M Linderborg, Gunveen Kaur, Eliza Miller, Peter J. Meikle, Amy E Larsen, Jacquelyn M Weir, Anu Nuora, Christopher K. Barlow, Heikki P T Kallio, David Cameron-Smith, Andrew J. Sinclair

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The study of the metabolism of docosapentaenoic acid (DPA, 22:5. n-3) in humans has been limited by the unavailability of pure DPA and the fact that DPA is found in combination with eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20:5. n-3) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6. n-3) in natural products. In this double blind cross over study, pure DPA and EPA were incorporated in meals served to healthy female volunteers. Mass spectrometric methods were used to study the chylomicron lipidomics. Plasma chylomicronemia was significantly reduced after the meal containing DPA compared with the meal containing EPA or olive oil only. Both EPA and DPA were incorporated into chylomicron TAGs, while there was less incorporation into chylomicron phospholipids. Lipidomic analysis of the chylomicron TAGs revealed the dynamic nature of chylomicron TAGs. The main TAG species that EPA and DPA were incorporated into were EPA/18:1/18:1, DPA/18:1/16:0 and DPA/18:1/18:1. There was very limited conversion of DPA and EPA to DHA and there were no increases in EPA levels during the 5. h postprandial period after the DPA meal. In conclusion, EPA and DPA showed different metabolic fates, and DPA hindered the digestion, ingestion or incorporation into chylomicrons of the olive oil present in the meal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-319
Number of pages7
JournalProstaglandins Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Chylomicron
  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
  • Docosapentaenoic acid (DPA)
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
  • Lipid metabolism
  • N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA)

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