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Fish Physiology and BiochemistryRead article
The present study was conducted to evaluate the effects on Atlantic salmon hepatic lipid metabolism when fed diets with increasing substitution of fish oil (FO) with a vegetable oil (VO) blend. Four diets with VOs replacing 100, 90, 79 and 65 % of the FO were fed for 5 months. The levels of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA; 20:5n-3) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; 22:6n-3) in the experimental diets ranged from 1.3 to 7.4 % of fatty acids (FAs), while cholesterol levels ranged from 0.6 to 1.2 g kg-1. In hepatocytes added [1-14C] α-linolenic acid (ALA, 18:3n-3), more ALA was desaturated and elongated to EPA and DHA in cells from fish fed 100 % VO, while in fish fed 65 % VO, ALA was elongated to eicosatrienoic acid (ETE; 20:3n-3), indicating reduced Δ6 desaturation activity. Despite increased desaturation activity and activation of the transcription factor Sp1 in fish fed 100 % VO, liver phospholipids contained less EPA and DHA compared with the 65 % VO group. The cholesterol levels in the liver of the 100 % VO group exceeded the levels in fish fed the 65 % VO diet, showing an inverse relationship between cholesterol intake and liver cholesterol content. For the phytosterols, levels in liver were generally low. The area as a proxy of volume of lipid droplets was significantly higher in salmon fed 100 % VO compared with salmon fed 65 % VO. In conclusion, the current study suggests that suboptimal dietary levels of cholesterol in combination with low levels of EPA and DHA (1.3 % of FAs) can result in minor metabolic perturbations in the liver of Atlantic salmon.