The role of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids from different sources in bone development

Reut Rozner, Janna Vernikov, Shelley Griess-Fishheimer, Tamar Travinsky, Svetlana Penn, Betty Schwartz, Ronit Mesilati-Stahy, Nurit Argov-Argaman, Ron Shahar, Efrat Monsonego-Ornan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are essential nutrients that must be obtained from the diet. We have previously showed that endogenous n-3 PUFAs contribute to skeletal development and bone quality in fat-1 mice. Unlike other mammals, these transgenic mice, carry the n-3 desaturase gene and thus can convert n-6 to n-3 PUFAs endogenously. Since this model does not mimic dietary exposure to n-3 PUFAs, diets rich in fish and flaxseed oils were used to further elucidate the role of n-3 PUFAs in bone development. Our investigation reveals that dietary n-3 PUFAs decrease fat accumulation in the liver, lower serum fat levels, and alter fatty acid (FA) content in liver and serum. Bone analyses show that n-3 PUFAs improve mechanical properties, which were measured using a three-point bending test, but exert complex effects on bone structure that vary according to its source. In a micro-CT analysis, we found that the flaxseed oil diet improves trabecular bone micro-architecture, whereas the fish oil diet promotes higher bone mineral density (BMD) with no effect on trabecular bone. The transcriptome characterization of bone by RNA-seq identified regulatory mechanisms of n-3 PUFAs via modulation of the cell cycle and peripheral circadian rhythm genes. These results extend our knowledge and provide insights into the molecular mechanisms of bone remodeling regulation induced by different sources of dietary n-3 PUFAs.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number3494
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • Bone mechanics
  • Growth plate
  • N-3 fatty acids
  • N-6 fatty acids
  • RNA-sequencing

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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