Influence of n-3 fatty acid supplementation on the endogenous activities of plasma lipases

William S. Harris, Gouping Lu, Gro S. Rambjør, Ann I. Wålen, Joseph A. Ontko, Q. Cheng, S. L. Windsor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

113 Scopus citations


The aim of these studies was to explore the possibility that enhanced triacylglycerol clearance may contribute to the hypotriacylglycerolemic effect of n-3 fatty acids in humans. Healthy subjects (n = 20) and hypertriacylglycerolemic patients (n = 6) were given a placebo (olive oil, OO) or a fish-oil concentrate (FOC; 41% eicosapentaenoic acid and 23% docosahexaenoic acid) in two, independent, randomized, blind trials. For the healthy subjects, the FOC treatment period was 3 wk long and FOC intakes were 5 g/d. For the patients, treatment periods were 4 wk long and dosages were 5 g · 70 kg body wt-1 · d-1. Washout periods were 2-4 wk for both groups. Blood samples were drawn at the end of each phase and analyzed for plasma lipids, lipoproteins, and endogenous (nonheparin-stimulated) activities of lipoprotein lipase (LPL) and hepatic lipase (HL). In the healthy subjects the FOC decreased plasma triacylglycerol concentrations by 18% (P < 0.01), whereas in the patients concentrations were reduced by 35% (P < 0.05). Low- density-lipoprotein-cholesterol concentrations increased by 25% in the latter group (P = 0.06). FOC increased the endogenous activities of LPL and HL by 62% and 68%, respectively (P < 0,0001), in the healthy subjects, but only LPL in the patients (65%, P < 0.005). These data suggest that endogenous lipase activities may be altered by nutritional interventions, and further, that accelerated lipolysis could contribute, at least in part, to the observed effects of n-3 fatty acids on human lipoprotein metabolism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)254-260
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Docosahexaenoic acid
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid
  • Hepatic lipase
  • Humans
  • Lipoprotein lipase
  • N-3 fatty acids
  • Plasma phospholipid fatty acids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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