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August 9, 2011

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Omega-3s Key to AMD Prevention

DIJON, FranceResearchers have found a diet high in omega-3s improve the retina and retina pigment epithelium (RPE), resulting in decreased risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD); lowrering intake of linoleic acid (LA) amplified this benefit. The results of the research were published online ahead of print in Experimental Eye Research journal.

Scientists from University of Burgnudy, Dijon, fed rat progenitors and pups with diets containing either low or high LA and low or high omega-3s. The rats were subjected to scotopic single flash and 8-Hz-Flicker electroretinography, then the rat pups were euthanized at adulthood. The scientists analyzed the fatty acid profile of the neurosensory retina, RPE, liver, adipose tissue and plasma using gas chromatography, while gene expression was analyzed with real-time PCR in the neurosensory retina.

Incorporation of omega-3s into the organs and tissues was improved by the high-omega-3 diet, an effect magnified when combined with a low-LA diet.  In fact, compared to a diet with high LA and low omega-3s, the diet low in LA correlated with significantly upregulated LDL-receptor gene expression, as well as similar, but not significant upregulation of CD36, ABCA1, ALOX5 and ALOX12 gene expression. No effect was observed on retinal function when comparing the diets. However, increasing omega-3 intake while lowering LA improved the omega-3 enrichment of the tissues, including the neurosensory retina and RPE, and upregulated genes involved in lipid trafficking in the neurosensory retina.

Researchers concluded the results support the beneficial role of omega-3s in the prevention of AMD, especially in a diet low in LA.


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