Impact of administered bifidobacterium on murine host fatty acid composition

Rebecca Wall, R. Paul Ross, Fergus Shanahan, Liam O'Mahony, Barry Kiely, Eamonn Quigley, Timothy G. Dinan, Gerald Fitzgerald, Catherine Stanton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Recently, we reported that administration of Bifidobacteria resulted in increased concentrations of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in murine adipose tissue [1]. The objective of this study was to assess the impact of co-administration of Bifidobacterium breve NCIMB 702258 and the substrate for EPA, α-linolenic acid, on host fatty acid composition. α-Linolenic acid-supplemented diets (1%, wt/wt) were fed to mice (n = 8), with or without B. breve NCIMB 702258 (daily dose of 109 microorganisms) for 8 weeks. Two further groups received either supplement of B. breve alone or unsupplemented diet. Tissue fatty acid composition was assessed by gas liquid chromatography. Dietary supplementation of α-linolenic acid resulted in higher (P < 0.05) α-linolenic acid and EPA concentrations in liver and adipose tissue and lower (P < 0.05) arachidonic acid in liver, adipose tissue and brain compared with mice that did not receive α-linolenic acid. Supplementation with B. breve NCIMB 702258 in combination with α-linolenic acid resulted in elevated (P < 0.05) liver EPA concentrations compared with α-linolenic acid supplementation alone. Furthermore, the former group had higher (P < 0.05) DHA in brain compared with the latter group. These results suggest a role for interactions between fatty acids and commensals in the gastrointestinal tract. This interaction between administered microbes and fatty acids could result in a highly effective nutritional approach to the therapy of a variety of inflammatory and neurodegenerative conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)429-436
Number of pages8
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2010


  • Bifidobacteria
  • Docosahexaenoic acid
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid
  • Microbiota
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Probiotics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Organic Chemistry


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