Stearidonic acid increases the red blood cell and heart eicosapentaenoic acid content in dogs

William S. Harris, Maureen A. DiRienzo, Scott A. Sands, Cherian George, Philip G. Jones, Alex K. Eapen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids (FA) are needed that can materially raise tissue levels of long-chain omega-3 FA [i.e., eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA; 20:5n-3) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; 20:6n-3)]. Stearidonic acid (SDA; 18:4n-3) is the delta-6 desaturase product of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA; 18:3n-3), and when fed to humans, increases red blood cell (RBC) content of EPA to a greater extent than does ALA. This study was undertaken to determine the dose-dependence and time course of the increase in the EPA and DHA content of the heart and RBC in dogs. Adult male Beagles were fed 21, 64, or 193 mg/kg of SDA in in their food daily for up to 12 weeks. Positive and negative controls were given EPA (43 mg/kg) or high oleic acid sunflower oil, respectively. The baseline EPA content of RBC was 0.38 ± 0.03% which increased (P < 0.01) in a dose-dependent manner, with the high dose of SDA and EPA achieving levels of 1.33 ± 0.26 and 1.55. ± 0.28%, respectively. In the heart, the content of EPA rose from 0.06 ± 0.01 to 1.24 ± 0.22% in the EPA group and to 0.81 ± 0.32% in the high SDA group (both P < 0.01). In both tissues, DHA did not change. Compared to dietary EPA, SDA was 20-23% as efficient in raising tissue EPA levels. In conclusion, SDA supplementation increased the EPA content of RBC and heart and may have utility as a plant-based source of omega-3 FA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-333
Number of pages9
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2007


  • Docosahexaenoic acid
  • Docosapentaenoic acid
  • Dogs
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Stearidonic acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Cell Biology


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