Both dietary ratio of n-6 to n-3 fatty acids and total dietary lipid are positively associated with adiposity and reproductive health in zebrafish

Academic Article


  • Background: Controversial findings have been reported in human and animal studies regarding the influence of n-6 (ω-6) to n-3 (ω-3) fatty acid ratios on obesity and health. Two confounding factors may be related to interactions with other dietary lipid components or sex-specific differences in fatty acid metabolism. Objective: This study investigated main and interactive effects of total dietary lipid, ratio of n-6 to n-3 fatty acids, and sex on growth, adiposity, and reproductive health in wild-type zebrafish. Methods: Male and female zebrafish (3 wk old) were fed 9 diets consisting of 3 ratios of n-6 to n-3 fatty acids (1.4:1, 5:1, and 9.5:1) varied within 3 total lipid amounts (80, 110, and 140 g/kg) for 16 wk. Data were then collected on growth, body composition (determined by chemical carcass analysis), and female reproductive success (n = 32 breeding events/diet over 4 wk). Main and interactive effects of dietary lipid and sex were evaluated with regression methods. Significant differences within each dietary lipid component were relative to the intercept/reference group (80 g/kg and 1.4:1 ratio). Results: Dietary lipid and sex interacted in their effects on body weight (P = 0.015), total body length (P = 0.003), and total lipid mass (P = 0.029); thus, these analyses were stratified by sex. Female spawning success decreased as dietary total lipid and fatty acid ratio increased (P = 0.030 and P = 0.026, respectively). While total egg production was not associated with either dietary lipid component, females fed the 5:1 ratio produced higher proportions of viable embryos compared with the 1.4:1 ratio [median (95% CI): 0.915 (0.863, 0.956) vs 0.819 (0.716, 0.876); P < 0.001]. Conclusions: Further characterization of dietary lipid requirements will help define healthy balances of dietary lipid, while the sex-specific responses to dietary lipid identified in this study may partially explain sex disparities in the development of obesity and its comorbidities.
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    Author List

  • Fowler LA; Dennis-Cornelius LN; Dawson JA; Barry RJ; Davis JL; Powell ML; Yuan Y; Williams MB; Makowsky R; D'Abramo LR
  • Volume

  • 4
  • Issue

  • 4