Lower concentration of n-3 in the red blood cells and plasma of lambs when their dams were fed a diet high compared with low in n-6 fatty acids at joining

Edward Clayton, John Wilkins, G. Refshauge, Michael Friend

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    Abstract

    Feeding ewes a diet high in n‐6 in late gestation can affect fatty acid concentrations in the newborn lamb. The effect of feeding ewes a high n‐6 diet prior to conception and in early gestation on lamb n‐6 and n‐3 status has not previously been examined. The aim of the current study was to determine whether the concentration of n‐6 was higher and n‐3 was lower in lamb red blood cells (RBC) and plasma when Merino dams were fed a diet high in n‐6 either pre‐conception only or both pre‐conception and in early gestation. Dams were fed a diet low (silage) or high (oats/CSM) in n‐6 for either 6 weeks pre‐mating only or 6 weeks pre‐mating and 17 days post‐mating. The fatty acid status of lamb RBC and plasma was determined following birth and compared with dam fatty acids around parturition. The concentration of lamb RBC and plasma n‐3 was lower (p < 0.05) when dams received the high n‐6 compared with low‐n‐6 diet around mating, independent of the length of time of feeding. The concentration of n‐3 in lamb plasma was also higher when lambs were assessed as being likely rather than unlikely to have suckled prior to blood collection. Lamb RBC and plasma n‐3 fatty acids were lower when dams were fed the high compared with the low n‐6 diet for only a short time around mating. Transfer of fatty acids via the placenta and milk may account for the differences.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)883-893
    Number of pages11
    JournalLipids
    Volume50
    Issue number9
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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