University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Division of Agriculture


Stem cells, fatty acids, DHA, EPA, adipogenesis


Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), especially eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are major maternal dietary supplements due to their positive benefits on neurological tissue growth during the first 12 weeks of gestation. Previous studies show that EPA and DHA inhibit muscle formation but promote adipogenesis. However, no research has addressed the question whether high intake of EPA and DHA affects brown fat development during gestation. The objective of this study was to measure the effect of EPA and DHA supplement on brown adipogenesis and potential pathways related to mitochondrial biosynthesis using fibroblasts as in vitro model. Using Oil-Red-O staining and PCR testing, lipid droplet formation and tested six genes were examined and PGC1α presented statistically significant difference from the control group when treated with PUFAs. Results indicated that PGC1α gene expression can be to be alternated by EPA and DHA treatment. Mitochondrial biosynthesis can potentially be promoted by increased PGC1α gene expression. However, the lipid droplets accumulated in the PUFAs treated group show an unknown mechanism of the n-3 PUFA on adipogenesis that needs to be revealed.