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Effect of long-term dietary supplementation of high-gamma-linolenic canola oil versus borage oil on growth, hematology, serum biochemistry, and N-6 fatty acid metabolism in rats

Liu, J.W., DeMichele, S.J., Palombo, J., Chuang, L.T., Hastilow, C., Bobik, E. Jr., Huang, Y.S.
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 2004 v.52 no.12 pp. 3960-3961
canola oil, linoleic acid, fatty acid composition, borage oil, dietary supplements, oral administration, growth and development, blood serum, blood chemistry, lipid metabolism, fatty acids, blood lipids, phospholipids, triacylglycerols, long chain fatty acids, liver, kidneys, spleen, histology, skeletal muscle, adipose tissue, rats
Dietary supplementation of a high-gamma-linolenic acid canola oil (HGCO) containing approximately 36% (w/w) of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA, 18:3n-6) from the seeds of a genetically transformed canola strain, was assessed for its long-term biological effects. Growing Sprague-Dawley rats (n = 30) were fed a purified AIN93G diet containing 5, 10, or 15% (w/w) of HGCO as the fat source. For comparison, a separate group of rats (n = 10) was given the diet containing 15% (w/w) of borage oil (BO), which contained 22% (w/w) of GLA. After 12 weeks of feeding, the growth, relative organ weights, hematology, and serum biochemistry were found to be similar among rats fed the 5, 10, and 15% HGCO diets. The GLA levels in plasma and liver phospholipids (PL) were also similar. However, the levels of GLA in peripheral tissues (muscle PL and adipose triacylglycerols) were significantly higher in rats fed the 10 and 15% HGCO diets than those fed the 5% HGCO diet. When the above biologic parameters were compared between the 15% HGCO and 15% BO dietary groups, there were no significant differences except for lower final body weights and higher tissue levels of GLA, dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (20:3n-6) and arachidonic acid (20:4n-6) in the 15% HGCO dietary group as compared with the 15% BO dietary group. This is due to a higher GLA content and possibly a more favorable stereospecific distribution of GLA in HGCO. Overall, long-term (12-week) feeding with diets containing up to 15% HGCO resulted in no adverse effects on growth, organ weight, hematology and serum biochemistry as compared to the diet containing 15% BO, suggesting that HGCO may be a safe alternative source of GLA.