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Impact of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids on Bone Adaptations to Simulated Resistance Training
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Young and ovariectomized animals eating diets rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) exhibit enhanced bone formation and decrease bone loss, respectively. Eicosapentaenoic acid, an n-3 PUFA found in fish oil, competes with arachidonic acid, an n-6 PUFA, for the cyclooxygenase enzyme, modulating prostaglandin E2, a mediator of bone mechanotransduction. Whether this diet affects bone gains during exercise is not well defined. We hypothesized rats consuming a high n-3 PUFA diet would gain more bone mass with increased bone formation compared to the rats consuming a high n-6 PUFA diet in response to exercise. Virgin Sprague-Dawley rats (5-mo-old, n=18) were assigned to one of two groups: diet rich in corn oil with a n-6:n-3 dietary ratio of 23:1 (O6) or a diet rich in fish oil with an n-6:n-3 dietary ratio of 2:1 (O3). After acclimation, rats completed 9 sessions on alternate days of stimulated muscle contractions at 75% peak isometric strength. Structural and densitometric properties of proximal tibia were measured using in vivo peripheral quantitative CT. Bone formation rate was quantified on the periosteal the surface by standard bone histomorphometry after intraperitoneal injections of calcein. There was a significant main effect due to diet on total volumetric bone mineral density. The diet rich in n-3 PUFAs also allowed for increases in cancellous volumetric bone mineral density at the proximal tibia independent from exercise, as high as 28%. However, proximal tibia metaphysis bone size and shape was not modified due to changes in diet. The training protocol resulted in a robust increase in bone formation, mass, and area at the midshaft tibia. Mineral apposition rate and bone formation rate were significantly greater in the O3 group compared to the O6 group with exercise at the midshaft tibia, ~36% and ~38% respectively. However, the greater bone formation seen in the O3 groups did not translate over to significantly greater bone mass and size as noted by the pQCT results at the same bone site, because there were no detectable differences between groups. In summary, our data demonstrate that a diet high in n-3 PUFAs independently increases bone density at the proximal tibia. In addition, there was enhanced BFR due to a diet high in n-3 PUFAs with exercise, but those increases did not translate over to increased cortical bone mass or size. These data provide evidence that fish oil consumption with and without simulated resistance training exercise can be beneficial to bone outcomes.
Camp, Kaleigh Ann (2013). Impact of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids on Bone Adaptations to Simulated Resistance Training. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from