Research Article| Volume 85, ISSUE 6, P345-351, December 2011

Dietary long-chain n-3 PUFA, gut microbiota and fat mass in early postnatal piglet development—exploring a potential interplay

Published:August 31, 2011DOI:


      Dietary n-3PUFA and gut bacteria, particularly Bacteroidetes, have been suggested to be related to adiposity. We investigated if n-3PUFA affected fat storage and cecal bacteria in piglets. Twenty-four 4-day-old piglets were allocated to formula rich in n-3PUFA (∼3E%) from fish oil (FO) or n-6PUFA from sunflower oil (SO) for 14 days. We assessed body weight, fat accumulation by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and microbial molecular fingerprints. Dietary PUFA-composition was reflected in higher erythrocyte n-3PUFA in the FO- than the SO-group (P<0.001). Principal component analysis revealed group differences in the overall microbiotic composition, which involved a larger Bacteroides community in the SO-group (P=0.02). There was no significant difference in body fat percentage and no relationship between fat accumulation and gut Bacteroides. Hence, this study does not support an impact of n-3PUFA or microbiota on fat accumulation during the postnatal maturation period. The impact of dietary PUFA on the gut Bacteroides warrants further investigation.


      DEXA (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry), FO (fish oil), LCPUFA (long-chain PUFA), MUFA (monounsaturated fatty acids), PCA (principal component analysis), RBC (erythrocytes), SFA (saturated fatty acids), SO (sunflower oil), T-RF (terminal-restriction fragment)


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