Dietary Fish Oil Supplementation Adversely Affects Cortical Bone Morphology and Biomechanics in Growing Rabbits
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Despite substantial evidence that fish oil-derived (n-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) may protect against cardiovascular disease, the effects of supplements containing (n-3) PUFA on the skeletal system are unknown. Here we investigated how a diet supplemented with 10 g/100 g fish oil affected tibial cortical morphology and mechanical properties in weanling rabbits. Rabbits were subdivided into a normal control (n = 10), a fish oil (n = 20), and a pair-fed (n = 20) group. The pair-fed group was energy restricted to match average body mass of the fish oil group. At completion of the 40 day dietary intervention, control rabbits were significantly heavier than the other two groups. Comparison between control and pair-fed rabbits revealed that energy restriction alone (30%) did not induce significant changes in tibial middiaphyseal morphology, but tibial longitudinal growth was significantly impaired. Most tibial mechanical properties were significantly degraded by energy restriction. Fish oil-supplemented rabbits had significantly smaller middiaphyseal areal properties and shorter tibiae than pair-fed rabbits. Tibial structural properties were significantly reduced in fish oil-fed rabbits, but tibial stress at the proportional limit (material property) was not significantly affected. Our data suggest that 10% fish oil supplementation in the presence of modest vitamin E supplementation can have detrimental effects on the skeleton of rapidly growing rabbits.
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