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Effect of Echium oil compared with marine oils on lipid profile and inhibition of hepatic steatosis in LDLr knockout mice

Patrícia Borges Botelho1, Karina da Rocha Mariano1, Marcelo Macedo Rogero2 and Inar Alves de Castro1*

  • * Corresponding author: Inar Alves de Castro

Author Affiliations

1 LADAF. NAPAN. Department of Food and Experimental Nutrition, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of São Paulo, Av. Lineu Prestes, 580, São Paulo B14 - 05508-900, Brazil

2 Department of Nutrition, Faculty of Public Health, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil

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Lipids in Health and Disease 2013, 12:38  doi:10.1186/1476-511X-12-38

Published: 19 March 2013



In an effort to identify new alternatives for long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC n-3 PUFA) supplementation, the effect of three sources of omega 3 fatty acids (algae, fish and Echium oils) on lipid profile and inflammation biomarkers was evaluated in LDL receptor knockout mice.


The animals received a high fat diet and were supplemented by gavage with an emulsion containing water (CON), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 42.89%) from algae oil (ALG), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 19.97%) plus DHA (11.51%) from fish oil (FIS), and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA, 26.75%) plus stearidonic acid (SDA, 11.13%) from Echium oil (ECH) for 4 weeks.


Animals supplemented with Echium oil presented lower cholesterol total and triacylglycerol concentrations than control group (CON) and lower VLDL than all of the other groups, constituting the best lipoprotein profile observed in our study. Moreover, the Echium oil attenuated the hepatic steatosis caused by the high fat diet. However, in contrast to the marine oils, Echium oil did not affect the levels of transcription factors involved in lipid metabolism, such as Peroxisome Proliferator Activated Receptor α (PPAR α) and Liver X Receptor α (LXR α), suggesting that it exerts its beneficial effects by a mechanism other than those observed to EPA and DHA. Echium oil also reduced N-6/N-3 FA ratio in hepatic tissue, which can have been responsible for the attenuation of steatosis hepatic observed in ECH group. None of the supplemented oils reduced the inflammation biomarkers.


Our results suggest that Echium oil represents an alternative as natural ingredient to be applied in functional foods to reduce cardiovascular disease risk factors.

Atherosclerosis; Inflammation; Echium; Stearidonic; Omega 3; Steatosis