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Substitution of dietary fish oil with plant oils is associated with shortened mid intestinal folds in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar)

Moldal, Torfinn, Løkka, Guro, Wiik-Nielsen, Jannicke, Austbø, Lars, Torstensen, Bente E, Rosenlund, Grethe, Dale, Ole Bendik, Kaldhusdal, Magne, Koppang, Erling Olaf
BMC veterinary research 2014 v.10 no.1 pp. 879
Salmo salar, absorption, carcinogenesis, colitis, colorectal neoplasms, diet, epithelial cells, feeds, fish feeding, fish meal, fish oils, genes, human health, humans, immunohistochemistry, inflammation, ingredients, messenger RNA, morphometry, olive oil, omega-6 fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, rapeseed oil, raw materials, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, risk, rodents, soybean oil, vegetable oil
BACKGROUND: Fish meal and fish oil are increasingly replaced by ingredients from terrestrial sources in the feeds for farmed salmonids due to expanding production and reduced availability of marine feed raw material. Fish oil that is rich in n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids is considered beneficial to human health in general and to prevent intestinal inflammation and carcinogenesis in particular. In contrast, n-6 fatty acids that are present in many vegetable oils have been associated with increased risk of colitis and colon cancer in rodents and humans, as well as lowered transcription levels of certain stress and antioxidant-related genes in Atlantic salmon. The aim of the present study was to investigate the intestinal health in Atlantic salmon fed with different vegetable oils as partial substitutes of fish oil in the diet. A feed trial lasting for 28 weeks included one reference diet containing fish oil as the sole lipid source and three diets where 80% of the fish oil was replaced by a plant oil blend with either olive oil, rapeseed oil or soybean oil as the main lipid source. These plant oils have intermediate or low n-3/n-6-ratios compared to fish oil having a high n-3/n-6-ratio. The protein and carbohydrate fractions were identical in all the feeds. RESULTS: Morphometric measurements showed significantly shorter folds in the mid intestine in all groups fed vegetable oils compared to the group fed fish oil. In the distal intestine, the complex folds were significantly shorter in the fish fed soybean oil compared to the fish fed rapeseed oil. Histological and immunohistochemical examination did not show clear difference in the degree of inflammation or proliferation of epithelial cells related to dietary groups, which was further confirmed by real-time RT-PCR which revealed only moderate alterations in the mRNA transcript levels of selected immune-related genes. CONCLUSIONS: Shortened intestinal folds might be associated with reduced intestinal surface and impaired nutrient absorption and growth, but our results suggest that partial substitution of dietary fish oil with vegetable oils does not have any major negative impact on the intestinal health of Atlantic salmon.